It isn’t my typical fashion to talk about insanely serious topics. I usually try to add in some light humor to make everything seem okay. This post, however, you won’t get any of that.
I can very optimistically say that there are very few things that scare me. Sure, there are a handful of things that freak me out a little bit, but scare me? Shake me to my core? I really don’t have a long list.
At the top of that list, though, are guns. Most specifically, related to school shootings.
Unless you live under a rock or far away from any outlet that spreads breaking news, you would know that it is February 17, 2018 and there have already been eighteen school shootings this year. Eighteen. In 46 days, nonetheless.
While it is common knowledge that shootings don’t just happen at schools, that context is the one in which I am the most terrified of. I look around at my six students and wonder what the heck I would ever do in a situation like this. I hope and pray to God that I never have to figure it out, but it’s completely evident that it’s something you need to think about.
I most recently read this article from PBS News Hour that has resurfaced from 2015. Not surprising since we’ve just experienced another horrific school shooting tragedy in our country this week alone. When did it become a teacher’s job to stop a bullet for your child? But really. When did it?
I work in a non-traditional school. So when I say that we do practice lock down drills and have received ALICE training, some of my friends either roll their eyes or ask questions about why we would ever do such a thing in our school. My answer: Do you see the world we live in?
I can’t say that I will ever have to worry about one of our own students, or former students for that matter, bringing a weapon into our building and causing havoc. I use this phrase cautiously because I guess you never know. However, there are a multitude of people coming into and going out of our building on a daily basis. Could one of these individuals cause this havoc? Absolutely. So my answer is yes. We do practice these drills. We do learn how to effectively block and barricade a door, fight off an active shooter, protect our students, and so forth.
I cannot say that fighting off an active shooter or using my body as a barricade to protect my students is something that I have ever seen in a job description. This is a reality I hope I never have to face. But, this is reality. I don’t know how my fellow educators, some of which who have been in this field longer than I have even been born, handle walking into work each day thinking about how to protect someone else’s child from falling victim to a monster.
Now, I will say this. I am not one to push an anti-gun agenda on you. If you want to own a gun, own a gun. Hunt animals, have it help you feel safe in your own home, lock it up and never use it; whatever you need the gun for, you do you. There are plenty of people in my life that do own guns and I do not think of them as any less of a person.They are responsible people, and if you remain responsible with your gun, I have no issue. Just because I will never own one, never shoot one, or have any desire to be around one doesn’t mean I think you should feel the same. I am terrified, therefore I refuse to be around something I am uncomfortable with.
I, however, do not know why any civilian needs to get their hands on an automatic weapon. Weapons designed to continuously fire rounds and rounds of ammunition as long as the trigger is held down. Weapons that are typically restricted to military and police organizations. Why do we need automatic weapons? Why is it legal to own these firearms? I think this over and over in my head, day in and day out.
While I don’t think all weapons should be banned, I do not see a need for these to be possessed by any civilian, ever.
This blog post won’t change the world. Thoughts and prayers won’t change the world. But sometimes thoughts and prayers and words are needed to be shared to ease the pain. The extension of a helping hand or a kind heart in a time of need is something that everyone needs. While they do help, I will reinstate, they won’t change the world. We need to start now. This world needs to be a better place. I mean, it is 2018 for Christ’s sake.
I will leave my thoughts with a quote, pulled directly from this PBS News Hour article: “Teachers are not police officers or firemen or members of the military trained to deal with dangerous situations like this. We are people who are trained how to get people to think, so that is what I am doing. I’m not going anywhere anytime soon because I will always love my kids enough to want to be the one between them and a bullet, but this also wasn’t in the job description.”
Which act of violence will stand out as so much worse? How many innocent people need to lose their lives for this to be taken seriously? Which event will be so much worse that we finally decide to make a change? It needs to happen, and it needs to happen now.