I am sickened, saddened, and angry all over again.
Yesterday as I did my early morning check of Facebook, I smiled at a memory that popped up from 3 years ago. It was a picture of my then 3-month-old granddaughter dressed in a little Valentine’s outfit with a little red and white stuffed bear next to her. She was propped up in a chair and holding a sign that said, “I love Nana Sue and Papa Tom”. It made my day.
Early afternoon, I talked to my daughter who is the mom to the oldest of our 4 grandchildren. She had just finished registering her 5-year-old for kindergarten next September. She learned that she’d be taking a bus to school and not going to the school within walking distance. The 5-year-old was excited at the thought of a school bus with her friends.
I learned about the latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida just before my husband and I headed to that daughter’s house to babysit the 5-year-old and her 3-year-old sister, so the parents could have a Valentine’s Dinner date night. The story was still unfolding, and the number of injuries and fatalities were still unknown as we drove to her house.
But watching just a short news piece I saw the anguish of parents anxiously awaiting news of their children. And I saw the fear and pain of the students who survived as they were being escorted out of the school by armed police officers.
Parents send their children to what should be a safe and nurturing learning environment every day. Yet, parents now with increased frequency wonder if their children will return home.
18 school shootings in 2018 and we are only 45 days into the new year. And it is the 29th mass shooting in the U.S. in that same time. Since 2013 there have been nearly 300 school shootings in this country.
This cannot be our new normal. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Action is needed. Our government leaders must be held accountable for addressing this crisis of gun violence. It is a public health crisis on many levels.
As I wrote this post, I wondered why there isn’t an organization that parallels MADD – Mothers Against Drunk Driving. So, I googled “mothers against” and found such an organization – Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. It was founded on December 15, 2012 in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. It has chapters in all 50 states and has effected change at the local, state and national level in the past 5 years.
What will it take to create a safe, nurturing environment for our children and ourselves? More than thoughts and prayers. It will take all our voices and actions. America is better than this and our children deserve better.