I started a post the other day about the mass shooting at the Oregon community college last week. I couldn’t keep things straight in my head, so I left it as a draft. I’ve gone back to it twice, and just can’t get it worked out the way I want. The autism hate page that sprung up over the weekend on Facebook freaked me out, and I haven’t been able to get past it to focus on all the things circling in my head.
Here’s the thing…..Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s in California, we had our share of drills – earthquake drills, fire drills, duck-and-cover drills (it was the Cold War period). We were prepared for any of those eventualities. I lived through two actual earthquakes while at school, big ones. All those things we prepared for were out of our hands for the most part. Nature is nature, after all. And goodness knows the Cold War was fraught. It didn’t freak anyone out we did those drills.
I remember distinctly the first time I was volunteering in Big Man’s kindergarten class during a lockdown drill. The kids had already been through it before, so were fairly un-phased. I came home and cried. My little six year old knew what to do in a lockdown. He explained they had to stay away from the windows, far away from the door, which would be locked and blinds drawn, hidden under tables, in the bathrooms, or in the pods. Six. Years. Old. and prepared what to do if a “bad person” came onto campus and wanted to shoot them. Seriously. This is normal for them. Normal. If you’re not freaked out by that, you should be.
Schools are supposed to be safe places, areas of refuge at times even. But in the last few years, school shootings have become commonplace. I can’t, in clear conscience, look my kids in the eyes and tell them this will never happen at their schools. That’s pathetic, and terrifying.
I’m not going to go into the whole gun control issue, nor the mental health issue. I don’t like to talk politics here, as that’s not what this blog is about. There have been many articles, posts, Facebook status, and tweets on both gun control and mental health care. Many of them have me shaking my head. So much bandwagoning rhetoric, and no real action. Ridiculous amounts of money is thrown from one side, while parents lay their children to rest, their lives cut ridiculously short.
My kids’ safety at school is not guaranteed. Oh, every one of their schools has drills, and doesn’t take any chances, but that’s no guarantee. That makes me angry. My kids’s safety is compromised anymore. That this is normal for them is a sad statement on how little we value life.