Thoughts on Parkland

I have started this blog post at least a dozen times. Literally. Every time there is a mass shooting in the United States, I’ve started writing this post. Over and over yet I can never figure out where I want it to go and what I want to say. The fact that in 2017 there were 427 mass shootings is insane. No where else in the world does this happen. Our legislators can help to prevent this but instead they just send their thoughts and prayers while making millions from the NRA by selling their votes. It is sick. Enough is enough.

What made me start writing this post this time were a couple of comments that I saw on Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal’s facebook page and something more personal. Let me start with the personal.

I was a freshman in college when Sandy Hook happened. I can still picture that day crystal clear. I was heading home to Connecticut after my first semester of college where I was studying to become a teacher. I was sitting in my aunt and uncle’s living room, getting ready to wrap up the drive home (they had picked me up the night before) when there was the breaking news alert about a school shooting in Connecticut. Panic. That’s all I felt for a few minutes. When you hear about a school shooting in your state or where you know people, you always worry that you’ll hear a school that you know. That you attended. That your family or friends attend. There’s always that painful sigh of relief when that isn’t the case.

The news kept coming and then the death toll started showing up on the screen. This was the deadliest school shooting in American history. A school. An elementary school.

It was that day where my want to be a teacher was crushed. It was crushed every time there was a school shooting reported. It was crushed with the Parkland shooting this week. It is the number of school shootings that happened while I was in college that almost completely destroyed my want to be a teacher ever. While the stats would show that it is a relatively safe job, I just struggle to see past these tragedies and this country’s refusal to do anything about it.

That’s my personal reason for wanting to write this. My entire life’s plan was changed because I couldn’t shake the heartbreak and the what ifs of a school shooting. I’m lucky enough to have never known anyone directly impacted by one. Maybe that’s why I struggled to write this. I didn’t feel that I had a right to. I know now that it takes all of us to make meaningful change and to work to prevent this from happening again at another school and to another family.

If you are passionate about a need for change, speak up.

As for the comments. Senator Blumenthal had shared a New York Times article about school shooting deaths along with a comment about how each of these families “deserves action now”. And they do. Some of the comments were what finally pushed me enough to write this.

“And yet you sanction the abortion of 500K babies a year. Hypocrite.” First of all, what does abortion have to do with the seventeen deaths in Florida? What does it have to do with school shootings? Nothing. This is a deflection from the real problem. I see that the person is trying to equate gun deaths and abortion but it doesn’t work. Know why? Because those seventeen people were alive. They had memories. They had families who will miss them terribly. Who will now have to plan a funeral for their teenage and adult children. This was a person. These were actual people who had actual lives. It is not the same as a woman or a couple making a choice to abort a pregnancy for a reason that you do not know and have no business stating an opinion on. But this post is not about abortion. It is about gun control/safety/regulation.

The other comment that motivated me to begin to write this post, and that I have seen more and more using different words is that teachers need to be armed and their need to be guns in schools. The comment on Senator Blumenthal’s post stated that school districts should get rid of gun free zones. This is ridiculous. Their reasoning for this is ridiculous.

Over the course of my entire education, I have met all sorts of teachers, students, and administrators. Many of whom I would have trusted with my life had an active shooter walked into my school. I had met just as many that if they had been armed, I never would have walked into that school again. Arming teachers is not the answer. Not only because you do have teachers and students who are unstable but because the idea itself is completely insane. There is no way to make arming a teacher or a security guard feasible and safe in a school. To think there is is to ignore the larger problem in the United States

That’s not even mentioning the cost. To arm every teacher, or even half of a staff population, at a school would be incredibly expensive. Teachers and schools are struggling just to have kleenex in their classrooms for when students get sick. Or to make sure every student has a pencil. Many schools still have to figure out ways to help their students have access to computers and the internet in order to do some of their assignments. There are better ways for districts to use their money than by arming teachers.

So what do we do?

Infographic-25X-update-011017

I don’t have the answers and I don’t claim to. I’m not even sure if this post fully makes sense. I just needed to write something. What I do know is that something has to be done. As a country, the United States needs to enact meaningful change and legislation regarding gun regulations. Our lawmakers need to work to prevent another school shooting from happening again. From another concert shooting from happening again. From another American being killed in a mass shooting again.

Midterms are coming. Remember those thoughts and prayers, these inactions by our Congress come November. Do not support candidates who have taken money from the NRA. Do not support candidates who will not support gun safety legislation. Do support those will make a change to protect students. To protect your children. To protect your family. Your friends. Yourself. Remember all of this and use your vote for change.

I could go on and on but instead, here are some article and groups to read and look into about gun safety legislation.

Articles:

Three Things You Can Do, Right Now, to Fight Gun Violence by US Senator Chris Murphy (CT-D)

After Sandy Hook, More Than 400 People Have Been Shot in Over 200 School Shootings by Jugal K. Patel, New York Times

What Has Congress Accomplished Since the Sandy Hook Massacre by The Editorial Board at the New York Times

Florida Shooting Survivor Wants Action: ‘We’re Children. You Guys Are the Adults.’ by Julie Turkewitz and Niraj Chokshi

Organizations:

Everytown for Gun Safety

Sandy Hook Promise

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

 

Obviously, there are many more but these are just a few that I wanted to highlight.

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