My kindergartner, as instructed, climbed into his cubby in his classroom. His other classmates did the same. It was just a drill, but as their teacher explained to them, it was important for them to follow the rules. And so they stood in their cubbies, surrounded by their jackets, rain boots, and backpacks… quietly.
Before they climbed into their cubbies, the teacher told them that if a bad man entered the school, an announcement would come through the speaker and each kid must run to their hiding spot. They were to remain in that spot until notified. And so they did. They hid from the imaginary bad man. They were also told that if they were in the hallway during the alert; they had to run into the nearest room and hide.
This is the world in which we live.
And it is not normal.
A few lines above, I explained what went on in my son’s classroom. But let me say it again in a different way. My 6-year-old son had to pretend in his kindergarten classroom that a bad guy entered his school and would kill children. 6 years old!
Let that sink in.
Let me say it again. My 6-year-old son and his kindergarten classmates had to hide where they put their jackets, boots, and backpacks and be quiet because they were practicing a drill in which someone enters their school and wants to shoot them. They had to stop story time, where they gather on the carpet, and hide in a cubby.
Something should have been done after Columbine, but it wasn’t. There were many school shootings between Columbine and Newtown, but nothing happened. There were many school shootings between Newtown and Parkland, but nothing happened. In each of those shootings mentioned, assault rifles were used, and in each the death toll was exponentially higher. It’s time for politicians to do something.
I grew up in Tornado Alley. We had many tornado drills to prepare us in case our school was in the ugly path of a cyclone. If you have never taken part in a tornado drill, it’s quite demeaning, unless you are in the first row. In a tornado drill, kids go into the hallway, basement, or bathroom. The first row of kids lines up against the wall on their hands and knees with their heads against the wall and covers their head with their hands. The next row places their heads between the rear-ends of the people in front of them and covers their head. Depending on how many kids are in the school, there are rows and rows of kids with their heads smooshed between the butts of the people in front of them. Along with fire drills, that was what we had to endure. It was nature we had to worry about. Not our classmates. Not strangers. Times have changed. And much like the kids in our tornado drill, politicians have their heads up someone’s ass. It’s time for that to change.
There are many suggestions of how to handle our current school shooting crisis. We can arm teachers or at least some faculty members. We can make it illegal to purchase military-style weapons. Or we can improve mental health treatment and our process for identifying, addressing, and helping those with mental illness.
Or we can do nothing and continue to let children be murdered in their schools.
Listen closely my fellow Americans, there is a gun problem in this country. And if you do not believe there is, then you are part of the problem. No more children should die. Children should be safe in their schools. Yes, mental illness is an issue and needs to be addressed, but some people are plain evil. If I were a carpenter and you took my tools away, it would hinder my job. Sure, I could make things with generic tools, but I couldn’t make them in mass quantity. I would be limited in what I could do. The same goes for bakers, artists, and murderers.
Rights are important. The second amendment is important. But times have changed. I believe most people that are fixated on the 2nd Amendment do so because they believe it is an us (Republican) versus them (Democrats) issue. But it’s not a Republican or Democratic issue. Can we step outside of our political parties and ask ourselves, “What is right?”
The right thing to do is to make it illegal to purchase, sell, and own military-style weapons. Military weapons are used for killing as many people in a short amount of time as possible. The freedom to take an AR-15 to a shooting range or out in a country field does not matter more than children being gunned down by one in a school. And to those who would be giving up their rights for the greater good of our children, I say, thank you.