School Shootings: No More “Thoughts & Prayers”. Demand Policy and Action.

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I am a Mom. I am sick and tired and shocked by yet another school shooting. I am also sick and tired of “thoughts and prayers”.  Yesterday, marked the 18th school shooting THIS year alone.  It is ONLY mid February, you have a calendar, you do the math. I am angry, frustrated and scared. What is the plan moving forward?  We don’t have a plan.  

To shield my children, I used to lower the radio and turn off the news pertaining to school shootings.  I wanted to protect my children.  But, they know, they knew.  This is so frequent. They respond in an empathetic way, but they are not shocked. This, is THEIR normal.  NORMAL. They are sometimes a little scared, but this is part of their childhood tapestry.  There is NOTHING normal about this.

We kiss our kids goodbye and send them to school.  Some kissed their kids goodbye and it was really goodbye.  After Sandy Hook, I looked longer at my kids when they hopped out of the car until they were no longer in my sight. Columbine was so long ago, and we have been here many times prior to the 18 cities impacted by school shootings since January of THIS year.  I can’t even name all 18 of these cities.

To the members of Congress still offering their “thoughts and prayers” we should OUT these legislators who accepted campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association. No other country has these school shootings and no other country has a lobby like the NRA.  The NRA is owns the United States of America’s Congress.

We need policy and action. Stand up to the gun lobby. Mental health advocacy needs to be a legislative priority NOW. Take the stigma out of mental health so that we can reach those in need.  How many more school shootings before we have a change in policy? Prayers alone are not working.

There are many levels of gun violence, and one policy won’t fix it all. A relative of mine was carjacked years ago, his offenders, with lengthy and violent rap sheets, were allowed back on the streets. My City has a high level of gang violence, these offenders get back on the streets. Before a play date, ask the host parents if they have a gun in their home and how they secure the gun(s).  We are sitting ducks in churches and concert spaces. We don’t know which school will be the next traumatized community. These examples will not all have the same solution. But, the time to take back our schools is long overdue. To the families in mourning from yesterday’s tragedy and the tragedies prior, we owe it to them to demand political action.

One political side spins the conversation, “Was the school shooter brainwashed by a terrorist group?  Is the shooter an immigrant?” These questions are not part of the school shooting epidemic.  These questions are a distracting tactic deflecting change. Dedicated teachers and our children are in harm’s way. Whatever your political affiliation, whether you are a card carrying member of the NRA or not, or whether you are a legal gun owner or not, this is a problem for ALL of us.  Sensible gun control does not mean taking away gun rights from lawful gun owners.

Since Congress isn’t offering new strategies, here’s a recommendation: Gun Awareness in School.  Much like Sex Ed and Drug Prevention, there will be push back. Teach Second Amendment history and rights. Teach students about mental health awareness and options. Teach children about reporting social media concerns.  Teach about sensible gun control. School safety cannot continue to be at the hands of the gun lobby. We need a change.  We need policy and action BEFORE another tragedy happens.

So, here we are AGAIN. “Thoughts and prayers” are expressed by politicians, social media bickering resumes, Congress does nothing, and then another school shooting occurs. I am not challenging the validity of the Second Amendment, the right to legally bare arms or the right to sport or hunt. I pray that we see action and enforced policies. We must demand change for safety in our schools. The need to act was before yesterday’s tragedy and the tragedies before that. I am a Mom sick and tired of being sick and tired about school shootings.