So here we are, again. Mass shootings have become a regular occurrence in American life. But even we, inured to bad news, are grief-stricken by the news of yet another school shooting …
So here we are, again. Mass shootings have become a regular occurrence in American life. But even we, inured to bad news, are grief-stricken by the news of yet another school shooting where young children and their teachers have been murdered by a disaffected young man with an assault rifle.
Just like Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. And Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. Beautiful young lives senselessly cut short.
Even in our violent culture, the killing of schoolchildren demands our attention.
Is there a legitimate reason why assault rifles should be available for purchase by private citizens? I’m asking for my friends who continue to serve their communities as teachers in classrooms. And I’m asking for those parents and grandparents and family members who are reeling from the unspeakable tragedy of losing their children.
Nothing will happen to change things, of course. I’ve been around long enough to know that. The NRA has already given talking points to its shills. When they give nearly half-a-million dollars to Ted Cruz, they can count on his support. Thoughts and prayers – and ONLY thoughts and prayers – are allowed.
Owning millions of rifles is the American way. Sorry if it means that children aren’t safe in schools or senior citizens aren’t safe in supermarkets or worshippers aren’t safe in churches and synagogues. Freedom isn’t free, you know.
According to Forbes magazine, Americans own about 20 million assault rifles. According to a Swiss-based Small Arms Survey, Americans own over 393 million guns, far more than citizens of other countries.
This is who we are. And, apparently, this is what America is going to continue to be.
It’s completely insane, on the face of it. Why, in the name of all that’s holy, do we have this ridiculous love affair with firearms?
Listen, I grew up in a family where hunting was, and remains, a part of the culture. I have no problem with that. But why are we selling assault weapons to private citizens? It is certainly not so that they can be better deer hunters.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the number one cause of death among children is firearms.
Heard enough? Had enough?
From the time I began my teaching career in 1974 till I retired, many things changed, and not in a good way.
When I started teaching, we always practiced fire drills. By the time I left, schoolchildren were also practicing active shooter drills. Imagine, if you will, 25 kindergarteners hiding in a dark closet with their teacher, being told to keep quiet.
Imagine little kids learning how to hide in a school bathroom by standing on the toilet seat so the bad man won’t know you are there. This is reality for kids who live in a country that won’t prioritize their safety.
I don’t have much hope that things will change. I’m disheartened from years of pandemic worries, world wars starting, and America’s turn toward autocracy.
But I wish, really and truly, that we cared enough about our children to do something to ensure their safety in this country.
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