There is never anything effective to say to someone when they have lost someone they love. To tell them that your thoughts and prayers are with them doesn’t do much, even if you are trying to be supportive. But the concept of “my thoughts and prayers are with you” is especially empty in the face of yet another mass school shooting in the United States of America, a country where guns are protected better than women who are child-bearing… or even children themselves.
I gave up on the idea of gun access restrictions ever getting anywhere in this country after the Sandy Hook mass shooting about ten years ago. That was really when this country decided that it didn’t give a shit about children dying because of guns. If you don’t care about children dying from guns, then you really don’t care about anyone dying from guns. Let the guns and the gun nuts reign supreme while more and more of America dies quietly and futilely.
When I think of 19 elementary school age children dying senselessly from a random gunman storming through their school, not to mention the two teachers who died, I think to myself… that could be my daughter. Those families that were screaming and crying for hours on end, wanting to find out whether their children were alive or dead and just waiting without any word… That could be Chris and me, worried sick after hearing about a shooting at the school our child goes to. That could be any of my friends’ children. And the fact that this is such a real thought is absolutely terrifying. It makes me sick to my stomach. This is the reality of raising children in the United States today.
No child should go to school and end up having to duck and cover and prepare for a “bad man” coming in. No child should go to school and get shot dead. Why do these things even have to be said? This is not a mental illness issue as much as idiots on Instagram and in Congress want to tell me. The U.S. does not have higher rates of mental health issues than other countries in the world; there is no data to prove this. What we do have is easier and greater access to guns and law makers who are truly cowards and flat out evil for allowing mass shootings to continually happen with literally no action taken to prevent these things from happening in the future. These mass shootings are 100 percent preventable. But we live in a country where no one wants to prevent these mass shootings. Our government, our lawmakers, the ones who happily taking our tax dollars, are doing nothing. Ninety percent of Americans are in favor of increasing background checks for guns, which includes those from households who actually own guns, yet we have law makers who completely ignore that.
All parents want to ensure that their children are healthy and safe. All parents do everything within their power to ensure their children’s safety. But there comes a day when parents have to rely on their community, on their “village,” whether that’s at the playground, at school, at some activity. A parent cannot hover over and be with her child 24/7, protecting her from all harm and malice. At some point, a child’s health and safety are no longer in the hands of her parents, and we have to have trust in the community to know she is safe. But I don’t know if I can trust that this country will be safe for my daughter to live in given all of this.