When I received an alert on my phone that a school shooting was actively happening in a Florida high school, my heart sank into my stomach and my gut threatened to expel itself all over the steering wheel of my car. I was sitting in carpool to pick my younger two children up before picking my high schooler up from his school.
I fumbled with my phone with one hand, trying to get to the information that told me where the shooting was occurring, while other hand gripped the wheel of my car, ready to head to the scene of the crime if it happened to be my son’s high school.
As I breathed a sigh of relief, I felt an overwhelming grip on my entire being. Despite the fact that Broward County is a several hour drive from my house, this school shooting was too close for comfort.
It could have been us. It always could have been us.
I haven’t been able to shake that feeling ever since. Scores of people reached out yesterday to make sure we were OK, and I’m glad that we are, that this heinous act didn’t happen in the halls of my son’s high school.
I’m not a doom and gloom type of person. I know that anything can happen at any time, anywhere. It’s just that mass killings at the hands of people armed with AR-15s are becoming more and more common in the United States of Gunmerica. Senseless murders, and because they are not attached to some other country of brown people, we dismiss them as one-offs, or we hope that we can lay the blame on groups from countries full of brown people.
Except that we can’t.
These are no longer one-off situations, and they are not happening at the hands of people from other countries, and yet IT IS STILL TERRORISM. These mass shootings are becoming increasingly common in this country. 18 times in 2018 to be exact. We are exactly 46 days into 2018 and there have been 18 mass shootings. That means we can expect 144 more mass shootings to happen before the end of 2018, and where will the next one be?
Your town? Mine?
We don’t know.
Do you want to know when the last time a school shooting happened in the U.K. was?
Last School Shooting in the UK: 22 Years Ago
Last School Shooting in the US: 1 Day Ago
There have been 18 school shootings in the US in just the last year alone.
— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) February 15, 2018
And yet there are people who won’t go to the U.K. because it’s “too dangerous due to terroristic activities.”
Are you kidding me?
I don’t even care about foreign terrorists anymore. They’re like the old-time Boogey Man. I’m afraid of American Citizens with AR-15s who continue to shoot fellow American citizens up like we’re clay pigeons.
I shouldn’t have to be afraid to send my children to school every day, and yet I am. My middle child attends class in a thinly walled metal trailer on an open campus.
The murderer who carried out the Parkland School Shooting had participated in lockdown drills so he knew exactly what to do. He pulled the fire alarm so that students flooded into the hallways like open season in an episode of Bugs Bunny v Elmer Fudd, only this time the targets were children, not cartoon rabbits.
I’m not getting into politics here.
I refuse to, because I’m exhausted and I’m not well enough educated in the ins and outs of it all, and I really don’t want to get into a pissing match with people whose stances will not change no matter how many innocent children and fellow humans die.
I’m with @mrbenwexler as is The US Constitution The Pursuit of Life & Liberty above all else. You gun nuts have to work around our children’s pursuit of life & liberty Worried about gunshow detox? Feel unsafe at Chuck-E-Cheese without an AR-15? Get a GA 12 Step Meeting Directory. https://t.co/88oAp4PGVK
— Tom Arnold (@TomArnold) February 15, 2018
Is this morning the last chance I had to tell one of my children that I love them before sending them off to a fishbowl called school? Did I just sign the death certificate of one of my children by sending them to school? How would my 2nd Amendment, NRA-supporting, automatic rifle owning family feel if my teenaged son had been one of the victims of the Parkland School Shooting?
I believe in my heart it wouldn’t have changed them.
And yet the reality is that it could have been us. It could still be us. It could still happen to us. I count the days until my son graduates high school and is able to flee to a foreign country to attend college. And yes, I realize bad things could happen to him there, or on the way there, but it seems more likely that he could be the victim of a mass shooting in the very country in which he was born.
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) February 15, 2018
Is this just a heaviness I am going to have to live with for the rest of my life? Knowing that the government of the country of which I am a citizen cares more about metallic death devices than the lives of innocent victims? I don’t want this. I can’t live like this, nor should I have to.
SIMPLE FACT: If you’re claiming the most powerful nation on earth can’t do anything to protect its children from being slaughtered in schools and churches, then you believe America is an utter failure.#ParklandSchoolShooting#GOP#NRA#GunReformNow#gunviolence
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) February 15, 2018