Disclaimer: This is not a pro- or anti- gun control post. That being said, please be respectful in the comments.
Growing up, I can remember the first time I heard about a mass shooting. I was already in college when Columbine happened. My roommate and I, with our friends and neighbors, were gathered around her small TV in our dorm room and we watched the news with horrifying expressions. We all couldn’t believe what we were seeing.
Mass shootings just didn’t happen in schools. It would be ill for me to say they didn’t happen at all, because they did. None of us knew what the hell was going on and we all prayed for the students killed, wounded, and everyone in that small town of Columbine.
And then a weird thing happened…these shootings keep happening. At church. At a nightclub. In a mall. On a university campus. In a movie theater. No one has an answer as to the why. What’s even more dangerous is no one has an answer to when it will be stopped.
My focus for this post today are school shootings. As I was with Bear on Valentine’s Day, we stopped by Burger King for a quick bite to eat before we headed home. I learned of the Parkland shooting via phone alerts but there were no reports of deaths, just injuries. When we were at Burger King, we received confirmation: 17 dead.
My mind immediately went to the parents. You don’t have breakfast with your kid, talking about random things, not realizing that’s probably the last time you’re going to see them alive.
Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children (trust me, I know this from experience). The school-age years are times for growing and exploring, making new friends, having different interests. That is the prime time to kinda figure out who you are.
Growing up in California, we were always prepared for an earthquake. We’re an earthquake state. Earthquake drills are nothing new. I’ve had them throughout school, leading up to college, and even in various places of employment. Maks and I have an emergency kit ready at our disposal and a plan of action in case we’re home when a major earthquake hits.
That’s different, though. We can’t prevent forces of nature and California is long overdue for a major one. If an earthquake happens, we have to be prepared for it as much as possible and pray for the best. We cannot prepare for a mass shooting. It doesn’t matter how trained we are, if we’re holding a concealed weapon, or any other circumstance; a mass shooting is not something anyone is prepared for, period.
So, that brings me to the question – are mass shootings Bear’s new normal? Is it our new normal?
It’s a fucked up thing to think about, let’s be frank. No one wants to send their child to school with the thought that might be their lucky day to experience PTSD and possibly never recover from it. As I watched the Parkland shooting news, my only thought was, ‘How am I going to prepare Bear for this?’
My son is four. He won’t be in high school for at least another 9-10 years. I have to worry if he might be involved in a shooting in his high school 10 years from now? Then again, it may not even take that long.
I’ve been researching various schools in our neighborhood, trying to decide which will be the best choice for Bear and his future siblings. Now, in addition to researching test scores and college acceptance rates, I also have to research how the security is. Are there metal detectors? Does the security staff have weapons on them and know how to shoot if necessary?
The problem is these shootings keep happening and there’s no predictability of when the next one will occur. It’s pretty safe to say, Parkland probably won’t be the only mass shooting in 2018 and we’re not even in March yet.
I’m terrified each time I hear about a mass shooting. It’s ridiculously scary to think they’ve become so commonplace in American history now. It’s downright frightening unless some major change happens, these shootings will always take place.
What’s even scarier is…there’s really nothing I can do about it. Sure I can vote who will ultimately represents my best interests, but even they can’t prevent a mass shooting. I can apply for a concealed weapons permit, but how will I know I won’t freeze up when I see someone else with a gun pointed at me or harming somebody else?
We just have to pray against the worst and hope for the best.