Today I picked up my daughter early from school, thank God it was because of a planned early dismissal and not because of a school shooting. Parents of students only an hour north of us were not so lucky.
We live in southern Colorado, within two hours distance of 12 multiple victim shootings. I say multiple victim shooting because Congress defines a mass shooting as “a multiple homicide incident in which four or more victims are murdered with firearms, within one event, and in one or more locations in close proximity.” Based on that standard today’s shooting was not a mass shooting either, although one person is dead and there are at least 7 other victims injured according to news reports. Still, twelve times in my area individuals have intended to harm multiple others. TWELVE. Three have happened in our city alone since 2007.
When I picked up my daughter today I had no idea that parents so close to us were frantically trying to do the same, that students were barricaded into classrooms fearing for their lives. This school is less than ten miles from Columbine, these kids have lived their whole lives in the shadow of one of the most horrific events in US history, and here we are again.
They say lightning never strikes the same place twice, but it does in the US. It strikes over and over again because the people who have the ability to stop it refuse to do so. They are too busy fighting over tax returns and where Trump’s father was born instead of doing what we need to do, finding a way to protect our kids.
Today I sat down as my eleven year old asked me questions about why someone would want to harm other people. The exact same conversation we last February after Parkland, last October after Pittsburgh, and less than two months ago after Christchurch. Today, just like all the times before, I don’t have the answer for her. I don’t even have the answers for myself.
I’m not saying I have all the answers. I’m not yelling to take away all of your guns. I grew up in a small town, in family that owns several guns. I was taught how to shoot, and I allow my kids to go hunting.
I don’t have the answers, but I know something has to change, and I do not believe it will be a one prong approach that does it. I am not saying it needs to be all gun control, all the time. But, I’m also not saying that mental health is the only problem. Yes, we have a major need for mental healthcare reform in this country, but we also have a need for gun reform as well.
Again, I don’t have all the answers. But what I do know is something has to change.
We said it wouldn’t happen again after Columbine, we said the same after Sandy Hook and Parkland. Yet, here we are. Absolutely nothing has changed and my child doesn’t feel safe in the one place besides home that she should not question her safety.
Our government, people on both sides, need to realize that our children, the future of our nation, are worth more than the tit for tat games they have been playing. It’s time to join together, to make some decisions. It’s time to change.
So that this time when we say it won’t happen again, our children can look back and see that we really meant it.