This is going to be a short post. I think a better person than me could write pages and pages on it, but honestly– I’m just not that strong.
My heart goes out to those families that are affected by the most recent school shooting in Oregon. Ten more people are dead. Nine are injured. A thousand more are having to pick up the pieces. And one nation has to wonder how this could happen. Again.
It breaks my heart that I have to keep writing “most recent” and “another” when I talk about mass shootings in publicly-funded education buildings. Because it’s going to happen again. I don’t know when or where, but we haven’t done anything to stop it, so we can’t begin to believe that it’s over. We have to know it’s coming. Somewhere, sometime, more children are going to die at school. And when they do, I’ll cry for their families just as hard as I am right now and wonder once more how I can live in a country that calls itself great but continues to let this happen.
I wanted to let people know that I haven’t forgotten about the other shootings that have plagued this nation. I wanted those families to know that they’re not forgotten and I still cry for them when I think about what they’ve had to go through. I wanted to show them my support, and was going to list the name of every school that has experienced a shooting of any kind in America since 2010– just five years ago. But there were 116.
I can’t begin to tell you how hard I cried when I realized that. Not all of them ended in fatalities– but I don’t think there’s any more proof than that that our current situation isn’t working. Our children– the most valuable resource we have, and the only thing that will truly determine the fate of our world after we’re gone– are not safe. We are not protecting them. And we should be ashamed of ourselves.
I think everyone still remembers Sandy Hook. I think that that one instance might have been the forerunner in our desire to stop this insanity. But we didn’t stop it. We didn’t do anything. 20 tiny graves were dug, and it should have been the day that we, as a nation, looked around and swore “never again.” But we didn’t. And 84 school shootings later–we still haven’t. So, yes. We can expect it to happen again. Because until something is changed, we’re just going to keep letting our worst mistakes repeat themselves.
I could list the statistics about how other countries have had effective gun control laws. I could even volley the continuous cry of “those statistics don’t apply because those countries are smaller than ours” by bringing up China. But this shouldn’t be a game about statistics. This shouldn’t be a “well, only ___% of our children died this year because of preventable shootings, so that’s okay.”
I think that if there was a epidemic in America, and our kindergartners were all dying of a horrible infection that, luckily, was understandable and, furthermore, treatable by a new antibiotic, we’d do anything in our power to make sure that those children got the medication they needed. I don’t think we’d stand around and say “well, the old antibiotic has always been there. You can’t take that away!”
So why are we doing that now? Why are we shying away from the people who scream up and down that we’re violating the rights they’ve always had, instead of giving our children a right they should have never been without: Safety. Protection. The absolute certainty that they can go to school and come home again that night.
That seems like something a first world nation should have. And until we do, we’re nothing better than barbarians. Maybe worse than that, because even those that we considered barbarians in the past understood the concept of protecting their offspring. We’re like animals that eat their young. Because even if we’re not pulling the trigger, we’re allowing other people do it for us.
That’s a problem, America.