I cannot describe how angry I am that our country, supposedly the “greatest on Earth” does not have the courage to stare into the depths of our individual and collective identities and sort out between the two where our obsession with gun culture will end and our real committment to nurturing our future generations will begin. To come home yesterday, after teaching and learning with 140 plus young bright minds, and listen on the drive home yet another narrative of horror, tragedy and loss really just eats at one’s spirit. Feeling simultaneously fearful and blessed that I had the opportunity to embrace my children upon arriving home from my place of work, a school… is something that I can never let myself take for granted.
After the last school shooting that was covered in the media, (at a school site where three of my friends and former colleagues worked) I had the opportunity to attend “live shooter” training. This training was conducted by ALICE. And although I can understand and even appreciate to a certain level the intent and ideas behind having such a training, a question still persists like a question in my mind. Why must there be professional training for educators on how to survive mass shootings at school sites? Those who would answer with the response that these are just the times we live in, while correct in this assertion should know better. This is not an adequate response. Everyone should know better. We are the nation that pats ourselves on the back for so many things, putting humankind into outer space, advancing democracy and freedom around the globe, and yet for all of our “achievements” however based in reality they may or may not be, we can’t figure out how to have a real conversation about how to protect the sanctity of real children in sacred spaces of learning? Or is there nowhere and nothing that is scared anymore? We unfortunately know the answer to this.
Nevermind protecting the sanctity of unborn life… for God’s sake! What are we doing to cherish and protect the lives of our children as we teach them how to build a better future? We are normalizing trainings for the adults who care for them in these spaces that teach folks like me how to barricade doors with belts and desks, how to engage in potential counter measures to an active shooter, and how to evacuate without getting shot… if possible.
And while I appreciate a training in research based survival tactics… I am not at all ok with the notion that just because this is a reality, that this is in any way, shape, or form… right. We can do better. We have to do better. For our damned children. My heart and thoughts go out to all those who have ever been affected by the violence of a mass shooting. I pray that we will have the common sense, courage, and strength to begin to envision a better world where this does not happen with the frequency that delegates tragedy to normalcy.