I am really struggling this week with the new “normal” that my kids are living in. Where school shootings and active shooter drills are common. My first daughter turned one just days before the shooting at Columbine High School, and I remember the horror I felt watching that tragedy unfold. Fast forward almost 20 years, and Americans have almost become numb to senseless tragedies that are being shown on our news almost weekly.
I usually only watch the news in the mornings and for the rest of the day the only news I get is from social media. Valentine’s Day was no different. I heard there was a school shooting and early reports said up to 20 injured with one fatality. And I went about my evening just like any other day. Didn’t even phase me. How sad.
Then I woke up the next morning and turned on the news, and it felt like I had a ton of bricks on my chest. 17 dead. Oh my God. 17 dead.
The New Normal
When my son came down stairs for breakfast, I asked him if he had heard about the shooting. He said yes. I told him 17 people died, and I could tell the number surprised him. Then I asked him about active shooter drills and lock down drills they do at his school. He told me the procedure, and I started to cry. I told him the only thing I could. If you can run then run, if you can’t run then hide and if you can’t hide then play dead. How sad.
This is what our world has come to. I am telling my 15 year old son to play dead. Something needs to change. This has become our new normal, but this is anything but normal. We need to do something to stop these wonderful children from dying.
We send our kids off to school every morning and want to believe that they are safe. But they aren’t. We can tell ourselves that what happened in Florida or Kentucky or Colorado can’t happen here. But it can. There are 17 teachers and students who left for school on Valentine’s Day and thought they were safe, but they are never going to come home again.
We Need to Change America.
We need to have stricter guns laws, and we need have better mental health policies. Not one or the other but both! I am not saying that all guns should be banned. Not even close. But there are people out there that should not have access to guns. The mentally ill, people with a criminal record and people with restraining orders just to name a few. We need to look at the kinds of guns that are available as well. On the other side, mentally ill people need to identified and helped.
This is not a problem that is not going to go away unless we speak out and demand change. I urge you to call your local senators and representatives. Don’t stand by and wait for the next tragedy to happen because next time it might be in your school district.