Lately the news has been flooded with words that could make a grown man fall to his knees and weep. Each night as I turn on the television I am reminded once again of the horrendous and fearful tragedies that are filling our everyday life. Everyday when I log into Facebook, or flip through Instagram, I am flooded with images of heartbreak and pain that have clouded social media for far too long.
Before sitting down to write this post I had to debate whether this would bring about positive or negative attention, and if it was the latter, would I be able to handle it? Would I be able to sit back while flipping through comments of how heinous, incorrect, and downright stupid my views were? Would I be able to read some of the harsh words we so often find in the comment section of anything on social media these days, especially if they were directed at me? Would I be able to handle the negative, even if the words that I wrote and felt so passionately about were what I believed some needed to hear? Is this not what every journalist must ask themselves before they publish an article? I am no journalist, but I do have an issue I believe we need to discuss.
In the news most recently we learned of yet another-in fact the 18th since 2018 has began- school mass shooting. When I read the articles on this occurrence my heart began to break. Why, this time, did my heart weep, anger fill my core, and a part of me sink? Because when I read 18th mass shooting in a school in the less than two months of this year beginning I realized nothing was getting better but in fact getting much worse. There had been no solutions implemented, no ways in which we were to help our children found. I realized then that my precious child, a child I prayed and prayed to one day have, would grow up in a world where mass school shootings were the norm. Where enduring shooter drills, learning to hide, and preparing themselves for their schools demise would become standard practice. I realized that my precious child could-God let it never happen- attend a school where a person would go in and think it satisfactory, neigh necessary- to shoot and kill multiple innocent people. My son could become a victim to losing his life before he reached his prime, before he even realized what good and beautiful work he could give to this Earth in his life. My son could be the fourteen, FOURTEEN, year old child who died as a result of someone thinking it was their right to take his life. My son could be the child whose texts flooded my Facebook- the last words of the victims all laced together through a well put video telling of their ultimate demise or victorious escape with a new chance of life. My son could die before he received his first kiss, his first dance, bluntly he could die before he ever had sex because a person believed he had the God given right to walk into his school and kill him amongst other children and faculty.
So why do we still treat these occurrences like the norm? Why do we still watch the news, offer our thoughts and prayers, and then continue with our daily lives? We march for human rights, we start riots over the unjustified slaughter of young men and woman by our police force, but where is the fight for our children? Where is the fight to end the unjustified mass murder of innocent children who just want to get their education?
I watched a video of a father say he sent his daughter to school. She was supposed to be safe. How heartbreaking is it to know that even when we do the right thing as parents we still have to fear for their lives? How much fear can fill our hearts to know that giving our children an education to better themselves for the future may just take away their future entirely, and then have our politicians, our President say there is nothing we can do. Being a parent is frightening enough, is this what we need to add to it?
When looking at this statistically I needed to look to other countries. I needed to find solace that somewhere else in this world there had to be this large of an issue. This country that we call the land of the free, the home of the brave, could not be the only source of such turmoil. However what did I find? Australia, a country I have loved since I was a young child had 4 mass shootings between 1987-1996 and they passed laws; no mass shooting since. Countries around the world have banned the use of guns, have made their laws so tight that it takes a miracle for the wrong person to get one. Yet in America I read comment after comment of people fighting for them, calling others atrocious names because they want laws to protect those these weapons harm, and people who have legally gotten them threatening the lives of those who disagree. So tell me America, what are we doing wrong? Why in a country so many wish to come to for freedom and protection do we risk that protection so often.
After this most recent mass shooting I also found many people blaming mental illness. I found this particularly entertaining to read because mental illness as a whole has been labeled so taboo by those now saying “He needed help, we need to start talking about this.” When I spoke of mental illness to some I was met with “invisible illness.” “It doesn’t exist.” “Take your medication and shut up.” Mental illness is not something you may take out of the back of your pocket when you need something to explain what makes you uncomfortable. Mental illness is not something you get to one day believe in because it saves your precious second amendment right. This should make you uncomfortable. This should make you angry. This should make you sad. This should make you want to fight. This should not make you try and find excuses so that you can justify keeping something that has been proven time and time again dangerous and fatal.
The videos you see flooding your social media should make you think; they should make you want to take action. The ignorance, the lack of education, the amount of money the people we elect in power take to keep quiet, the lack of action made by those in power is what is wrong with this country. These qualities are what make going to school unsafe for our children. These qualities are what continue to allow our children to be slaughtered in mass quantities. It is not disciplining our children that will fix this. Wake up America.
I am a mother. My job is to protect my son. No longer will I sit quietly and allow the world to become a more dangerous place. One day I will leave him and his future children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren if he should be so lucky. The world I will fight for will be for them. The world I will go down protecting will be so that shooter drills and fear do not corrupt their abilities to grown, learn, and become the people they want to become in the future. Enough is enough America. We refuse to change but if we were the parents receiving those last messages, those fearful texts we would be fighting for a change. If we had to sit still and wait-where minutes felt like hours and hours felt like days- to know if our child was not safe, but alive, we’d be knocking down the doors of the White House and demanding action.
I read a comment on a video on Facebook: “When we learn to love our children more than we love our guns, maybe then we will see change.”
So I ask you, do we love our children enough to look at the real facts, the real statistics. This isn’t only a gun problem, it’s also a people problem. So stop picking sides to blame and start taking action. Let’s put the ignorant excuses to rest and start protecting our children.