Books not Bullets

Yesterday morning, there was a school shooting in western Kentucky. 16 people were injured, two fatally. The two victims and the shooter were 15 years old.

I found out about this late last night. No one was talking about it. It didn’t come up in my Facebook feed at all. It didn’t come up in conversation with a group at dinner. Why? It’s because we have become complacent. It’s just another school shooting. It’s barely even newsworthy. Oh, and it was the 11th shooting on school property since January 1st.

When did school shootings become the norm? They’ve been happening throughout modern history, but with growing frequency the last 20 years. Why do we have to teach our kindergartens about school attacks? Why do we have to have active shooter drills? Was the 12 students and 1 teacher dead at Columbine not enough? No, that just scratched the surface. There were 32 dead at Virginia Tech, or there’s the dead in Roseburg, San Bernardino, Cold Spring, Tucson, and Jonesboro etc.

The moment I realized we are never going to do anything about the school violence was when Newtown happened. Someone killed 20 first graders and 6 adults, and we did NOTHING! If as a nation we could look at the faces of dead 6 and 7 year olds and not be moved to make actual change then I knew nothing would.

I’m not here to lecture about gun control. I don’t want to take away your guns. What I want is for common sense to prevail. I want my best friend who is a teacher, as well as some of you who are reading this, to be safe. No teacher, staff member, or student should be afraid to enter the halls of education.

Last year, a student was killed on property at Linton Middle School where my bestie, Kris use to work. She had recently transferred to the elementary school, but when I heard there was a shooting I started to panic. There were many colleagues, staff, students, and Kristen’s sister Amy who still worked there. Waiting for correct information and to hear that people were ok was excruciating. I don’t want to have to worry like that ever again.

When are we ever going to come together and work on more viable solutions? I know there is no magic answer. I don’t think you can 100% stop school shootings, but I think we can make it a hell of a lot harder to happen on school property. For something that happens so frequently and hardly anywhere else in the world, you’d think it would be a priority.

I don’t ever want to be complacent when I hear of a school shooting. I want to feel sad and outraged. I want others to be outraged too. Don’t wait till it’s too close to home for you to ignore.

Yinz be safe and hug your loved ones tighter.

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