Monday, December 17, 2012

My 9 Year Old Is Afraid to Go to School

Given the exhaustive, nonstop press about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, I spent the weekend thinking there was no way I'd blog about it.  I didn't want to give it any more attention, because I think the endless focus on it makes it harder to get over, and more likely that someone else will do it.  And I don't believe mine and a bunch of other strangers' attention and support is helping those families and that town cope.

But my 9 year old is afraid to go to school today.  As I know millions of kids all over the country are.  She's afraid. To. Go. To. School.  In 4th grade.  She's scared that someone will get into her elementary school and hurt a bunch of the kids, including her.

Where do we live?  Afghanistan?  Nope.  Safe, secure, modern, civil - we live in the USA.

Not that it's acceptable that Afghan children might be afraid of very similar things.

If I heard about this happening in a middle eastern country, I'd be horrified and sad, but at the same time a little relieved to be living in a civilized, 1st world country where that could never happen.

Up until this morning I was just sad.  Horrified, disgusted, ashamed of us as a country, that we can't protect our children from violence.  Today though, I'm a little mad.

I'm mad that my daughter has to be afraid to go to school.

I'm mad that the media sensationalizes these things to the point that I've read that maybe these suicidal people see all the attention mass shooters get and think, why just take myself out when I can take a bunch of people with me and get famous?

I'm mad that it's legal for me to go get a huge assault rifle, if I want to.

I'm mad that some people think teachers should have guns in their classrooms.  Can you imagine sending your child to a school where every teacher has a loaded gun in a desk drawer?  Now THAT would make me scared to let her go to school.

This isn't Pakistan.  Do we need to arm ourselves like that to ensure we'll survive the day?  It's ridiculous that it's come to that.

I'm also grateful that this article written by a mom of a mentally ill child has gotten so many views over the past weekend.  People need to realize that there are parents out there today, right now, raising kids who could be the next shooters, and they know it, and they can't get any help stopping it.

I hope this is it.  I hope this is the one that sparks change.  We need to get weapons out of the hands of people with mental problems.  That's all I'm going to say.

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