When I was a junior-high student, fear barely touched my radar when we were given drills to duck under our desks if there was a nuclear attack.
We all thought it was a joke, and in retrospect that was a pretty foolhardy practice. I believe that drill was created out of our natural desire to have some control over what is happening around us.
Time went by, and we learned that terror could find us anywhere–on a plane, while at work, at a movie theater, a bar, even, God help us, at a church.
We began to talk about “Them,” these other humans who committed these atrocities as if they were foreign creatures from another world. How could we accept that our destroyer could indeed be the boy next door?
Overwhelmed, we felt out of control. This helped us feel sad and to pray for the victims, snug in our belief we were still somehow safe from such violence.
In more recent years, when the crisis hit our schools, our hallowed monuments to learning, the home of our children, our future, we became doubly defensive. How could we have known? And guns are our right, given to help protect ourselves.
How many times have we been there? How many times does it take? When is enough enough?
I have a great-grandchild who will be starting fourth grade, who has seen the news of the most recent school shooting. She was shocked to hear that grown men with guns waited in the school halls, afraid, and let the children be slaughtered.
My great-grandchild is afraid. Those children did just as they had been taught. They were quiet, hid under their desks and called 911 asking for the help that never came as they were slaughtered.
Parents always wish for a world that will be better for their children than the one they had known. That is not this world. We may have wonderful technologies, but we have fear and hate that seems to only be growing every day.
We cannot go to the market, the movies, anywhere now without that underlying fear of sudden shots. When there is no apparent reason behind the violence how can we predict it? Guns that should only be used only in a war-like setting have no right to be used in an elementary school.
To me this is not a political issue. I have republicans and democrats in my immediate family. Most are gun owners. None of them have any problem with proposed sensible laws. They want to feel safe too, especially because they want their children to be safe.
For me, it has lit my fuse, I can endure no more. I am at war, and so should you be. Write your legislators. Write the White House. Call anyone you can think of. Flood city hall meetings. Start petitions.
USE your voice, use your vote. If states will not protect your children, do not send them to school. In other words, start hurting them where it hurts. Be loud, be consistent and do not stop until the violence stops.
And at the same time fight for better mental health programs in schools, where such programs are now insufficient.
In Boston they threw tea. If only it were that easy. But certainly folks, your fuse should be set! Mine is!!