I had to wait a day or two to formulate my thoughts about the shooting in a local Troutdale, Oregon school. Social media sites are being bombarded with statistics about the number of school shootings all across the United States, and comparing them to other countries. Maybe I am thinking about it more because it happened less than 30 minutes away from me, or maybe I am sick and tired of watching innocent children be injured or die.
Bulletproof blankets for schools at the low price of $1000 a blanket, metal detectors in all school entrances. What has it come to? I do not really care about your politics or your personal opinions on gun control. I want to talk about the real issue, which is whether our children are safe or not in schools. Children go to school to learn, to trust, to push our boundaries. How can children learn when they are afraid of their fellow students? When they might fear that those that bully them might kill them to? It scares the crap out of me to think about sending my future kids to school. Will all parents have to start home schooling because we do not have the proper security and safety in our schools? Gun control, gun rights, politics, bearing arms aside, what are we going to do to protect our children?
I am angry.
What are we doing as a country to handle and resolve this issue? There was a visual icon on a friend’s Facebook page that said: “NOT ONE MORE” in support of finding a solution to school shootings. We all remember Columbine. We remember Virginia Tech where it was a massacre of lives. We remember Newtown. Are the shootings where one or two kids are shot not as important, or does the large volume of schools where incidents have occurred (fatalities or not) matter? They all add up do they not? There is a real issue, and we need to resolve it.
What are we going to do? What are you going to do? What am I going to do to step up and be apart of the change that needs to happen? How long are we going to continue to watch the news each day, and continue to be desensitized to the issues with guns? This Bill Moyers article lists the actual gun deaths or injuries in schools by date since Newtown – a shocking 79 in the last 18 months.
I am shocked. I am disappointed. I want answers. I want solutions.
Last week I came across this article about bringing guns to work. I found it after the Clackamas Town Center mall shootings. I was shocked that this is even a conversation, or that it is even legal in some states to bring a gun to work. I do not even want to think about my co-workers bringing a gun to work.
Guns at work adds to the already full social commentary about gun laws and mental health. The events of last week have brought us all to reflect on our lives, appreciate our loved ones, and pray for the families affected by these tragedies. My heart and tears go out to those that have been affected by the shootings in Oregon and Connecticut. Horror. Safety. Why? All three of these words come to my mind. Many individuals are asking why this happened, and what needs to change in our country. I am asking myself the same questions. What needs to shift?
Besides understanding the facts, many are talking about what needs to be done with gun laws and mental health issues in our country. Both issues need to be discussed. We also need to address the fear of safety from the public. What does a shooting in a mall, movie theater, and an elementary school do to the fear and comfort level for many families across America. Is it immobilizing them or are they able to continue to live their lives? What effects do these events have on the general trust among strangers? Will we all begin to start looking at each other different?
I do not have any answers. Only questions right now. What I do know is like with many of the natural disasters that have hit around the world in the recent months and years, that this is a time to come together. To work together in our communities and try to find answers to our questions. To not move on as though this was all okay. It is not okay.
Articles I have found interesting from the online conversation: