She was only a baby


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There was another shooting at another school in the United States this past week.

I know. Yawn, yawn. It doesn’t even make the headlines anymore.

But still.

Think of the teachers who kiss their children goodbye every morning and grab their travel mugs of coffee as they head to school. Think of the parents, millions of them, who pack lunches for their kids and check homework. Picture them kissing their children and putting them on the big yellow bus.

Think about how much trust it takes to send children off to spend the day in the care of other adults. Think about how much trust it takes to go into work every day as a teacher. Think about the number of school shootings that take place in this country every month.

I used to be a teacher. I went to those terrible, horrifying trainings on how to react to a live shooter in our school. I had to keep my door locked at all times, in the event of a shooter coming in to get us.

I used to stay awake at night picturing how I would react if someone burst into my classroom with a weapon. I imagined using my broom to hit the bad guy in the chest or the throat. I imagined telling my ten year old students to lie flat on the floor as I did this. I thought about kicking the weapon away from the killer and I thought about hitting him with my broom, or my feet, or with a big dictionary.

It never felt real. And it never felt it would be enough.

What kind of country asks its children to practice hiding from guns, rather than keeping the guns out of the schools? What kind of insane society asks its teachers to practice taking out a murderer during a reading lesson?

The other day a little girl took hold of a gun and brought it to her Los Angeles middle school. She shot her classmates.

She was 12 years old.

Let me say that again.

She was TWELVE.

She was too young to vote, to order a glass of wine or to get a credit card. She was too young to understand that death is eternal. She was a child. A young child. She was an unhappy pre-adolescent girl who felt bad about herself.

What kind of country would allow her access to a weapon? What kind of sick, twisted, insane society would put this kind of gun into the hand of a sad little girl who doesn’t understand its power?

I am so ashamed to be an American. I am. THIS is why.

I am ashamed because I live in a country that believes that the right to shoot for fun outweighs the rights of children to go to school in safety. I am ashamed because I live in a country that has decided that the millions of NRA dollars are more important the lives of millions of teachers.

We have so completely lost our way, America.

A TWELVE YEAR OLD brought a gun to school and shot up the kids who were bugging her. And nobody in power gives a shit. It didn’t even make the front pages of our national newspapers.

We have lost our way. We are lost. We have abdicated our right to call ourselves merciful, kind or nurturing.

I am sick at heart. And I will forever mourn the adults who let this little girl destroy her own life and the lives of her classmates just so they can tell themselves that they are big old badass gun toting Mericans.

If Canada would have me, I’d be there next week.

 

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34 thoughts on “She was only a baby

  1. And it was the 12th school shooting already this year.
    Twelve. School. Shootings. This. Year. And it’s only been a month.
    What has this country come to? When will we finally say “enough”? 😢
    I’m sick of the “thoughts and prayers are with the victims” bullshit. Sick of it.
    And I’m pissed as hell.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live in that kind of low level tension every day. From the distance (both geopgrahivcally and in attitude towards guns) of New Zealand it seems incomprehensible. I am heading over to California for a couple of weeks next week and I am slightly nervous about it (even though I have visited the US several times before, it just seems to be getting more prevalent).

    Liked by 3 people

      • We have strict gun laws. I actually don’t know anyone who owns a gun except one or two people who have a rifle for hunting during the duck season. Registration is very strict and has to be renewed on a regular basis.
        Our regular police are not armed at all. We have special units who are called out if there is a firearm issue.
        If it is used in a crime you are definitely accountable!
        Gun ownership as a norm just isn’t part of our culture.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I honestly used to wish I could live in the States. I have many friends scattered all over the country and I’ve even been there once. I loved that too. But how I felt, changed and it was because of guns. I don’t understand your gun laws. It’s incredulous to me that you have a right to bear arms and all the other stupid firearm related things that you have. I wouldn’t want to live in a country that allows it to go on.

    I think that this post is the best I’ve ever read on it though.

    “I am ashamed because I live in a country that believes that the right to shoot for fun outweighs the rights of children to go to school in safety.” This is IT. This sentence says exactly and succinctly what is wrong. This sentence IS also the solution. So please don’t be ashamed. Be proud that you wrote this. ❤ (sorry for the long comment).

    Liked by 2 people

    • THANK YOU for the long comment! The fact that you no longer want to come over here makes me so sad, but proves my point. We have surely lost our way here. We need campaign finance laws that prevent groups and businesses from donating millions to our politicians. The NRA owns our Congress.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t wait to return. I have a best friend who lives in Michigan, so I intend visiting as soon as I can, but I’m also sad that the gun culture exists so heavily in the States, and that DOES prove your point. Many of the friends I have in the US dislike firearms so I’m well aware that not everyone there agrees with the laws. Shootings occur in the UK too, but obviously not as predominantly as in the US. There have been school shootings here and murders (not gun related) by children. For the size of the UK (we could fit into Texas), there ARE too many gun related crimes, but they are rare, I guess. I have been speaking to a lot of people here about your post. I don’t know many people who agree with the right to bear arms and the argument about having the right to protect yourself, your family and your home is just utter shit. Sorry, but that makes no sense to me. We (the UK, NZ, AUS etc) all know that you (Americans) don’t all agree with your laws. We still love you as a nation, but it may have spoilt things a little. I am not afraid to visit, I just know that living there wouldn’t be as idyllic as I once dreamt it would be. x

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  5. People who get shot almost never wanted it to happen. If it’s fatal it ends the life prematurely, which is true no matter what the age of the shooting victim. I’m not sure how a shooting ending the lives of children is any worse, different, than a shooting ending the life of anyone else. If ending a human life prematurely is wrong, it’s equally wrong for a 20 year old, and 8 year old, a 2 year old, or a 50 year old. The fact schools happen to be a place where potential victims gather ought to made it among the easiest places to keep such shooting from happening.

    Something about all this doesn’t make sense.

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    • I agree that ANY lost life is a tragedy. I totally agree that any life ended early is a huge loss. But children are so dependent on us, on the adults, and in the matter of guns, we keep letting them down. They are, I believe, our most precious members of society.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have no answers for you, I am sorry.
    Here, in my state many years ago we had a massacre (that’s what we call it, because that was what it was) , at Port Arthur. One man randomly shot many. It changed the way Australians thought about guns, and in that moment the tide changed and laws were put in place to try and ensure that it would not happen again. Guns are not freely available, there are waiting periods and you must be registered and have a valid reason for owing a firearm, and have a secure, locked firearms safe that they are stored in. It’s not foolproof, but it does make it harder to get access to weapons (unless you do it illegally). We also have regular “no-questions asked” periods when firearms can be handed in.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Things like this are so incredibly sad, no matter how common it has become these days. I don’t understand it. Children should be protected. They should have a safe place in which to learn how to be productive members of society… those in charge of our future. I cannot imagine how people can justify any of it. IT’s just not necessary.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am a Canadian. I am a Canadian who lived through the shooting at a local high school back in 1975, a school where I was once a student. A student who knew many of those who were hurt, the teacher who was killed, and the 16 year old boy who did the shooting before turning the rifle on himself. Look it up if you want, it was at Brampton Centennial Secondary School in Ontario. A few days later a “copycat” event happened in Ottawa, I don’t remember the details of that one as I was still reeling from the shock of what had happened at my school. I will never forget it. A few weeks later I went door to door with a petition for gun control legislation, which, for the most part was well received, but there were a few opposed to it as well. I don’t understand the opposition, as you said, children should not have to be trained on how to hide from a shooter. Teachers should not be expected to act as both educator and some kind of ninja warrior. It is crazy. I am intensely sad every time I hear of another shooting at a school anywhere in the world. Children are precious innocents who deserve protection. And just so you know, there are many Canadians praying for our American “cousins”. each and every time such a tragedy is reported….God Bless America…may you find your way out of this darkness

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    • Thank you! Thank you so much! Whenever I go to Canada, I always feel a moment of shame to admit that I’m American. It is the unrestricted flow of money into our political process that has brought us to this terrible moment. I’m so very sorry that you had to live through such a tragedy, but I admire your activism!

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is much in our history that I am also ashamed of, the treatment of our First nations peoples, the treatment of Jews fleeing WWII, the treatment of many nationalities throughout the centuries, so we have no moral ground to judge anyone! Unfortunately too many Canadians are ignorant of our national “sins” buying into the brand of the”good” Canadian. Although there are limits on financial contributions to political parties, there are always a means and a way around rules, which the conniving can easily find. As for living through the experience at Brampton Centennial, I think it made me a better person – more compassionate and less willing to judge, and for that I am grateful. Every tragedy brings with it lessons, may we learn them well.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I taught in the states for 13 years and was never so relieved when I walked out on that very last day. It is a really sad day when teachers don’t know if they’ll return home to their families nightly. I pray every day for teachers and students everywhere as well as our military and public services employees.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think you need to ask a different question.. Why is it okay in this society to bully others? If it was not a gun, it could have easily been a knife, or worse, some ‘concoction’ to poison someone.. there are lots of ways to hurt other people. Too often in this country, people try to treat the symptom, and not the underlying problem. The United States is not about family or a cohesive society. It is pitted as everyone for themselves and your competition is your fellow student, family member, colleague, or ‘friend’. I ask again, why is it that people allow this you vs me culture in this society? While this is tragic, the only way you ‘fix’ this sort of thing is to start over with a culture that values social cohesion versus one that values the ‘individual’ over the group.

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    • I’m sorry; I will try very hard to answer in a way that is civil, as your comment was thoughtful and it seems to me that you fully believe it.
      Your argument is senseless. Why? Because every school in every state addresses the issue of bullying. EVERY school (its a federal law). EVERY school bans knives. EVERY school tries to keep children as safe as humanly possible (ie: no paper cutters allowed in early grades classrooms; keep the tea pot out of kids’ reach; use safety scissors.) Tens of thousands of Americans die every year from guns. Accidents, suicides, murders, domestic abuse. Guns have no use other than hurting/killing humans.
      Now, that being said, I agree 100% that this society desperately needs to work harder at fostering cohesion, unity, acceptance and tolerance. Absolutely agree. It’s why I was a teacher, why I join as many community groups as I can, why I donate to peace causes. The fact that we have no idea who around us armed with a hidden weapon is a HUGE part of our sense of “us” against “them”.
      That a 12 year old child committed murder with a gun is why I want us to work harder to keep guns out of the hands of 12 year olds.

      Liked by 2 people

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