This past July, as I watched the horrifying events at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, play out, I was once again horrified, heartbroken, and outraged. No child, no parent deserves to ever have to endure such a situation.
Each time one of these school shootings happens, I’m taken back to the time I got a call from my own children’s school that they were on lockdown due to a gunman in the neighboring area. I remember the feeling of terror, wondering where my babies were and wanting to go get them. Luckily, our situation was quickly resolved. When they came home from school, I held my kids tighter than ever. Unfortunately, the one in Uvalde ended in the deaths of 19 students and two teachers.
Uvalde is only the latest of these school shootings—not to mention mass shootings throughout the country. There have been shootings at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, and many more. If I were to list all of them just from the last four decades, I wouldn’t have much more room to write anything else. Each time, we swear we’re going to do something, but then we get caught up in arguments and disagreements, and we remain stuck until the next shooting.
As a parent, I don’t ever again want to have my child come home and tell me how scared she was, huddled together and hiding with her classmates. And, again, that was mostly done out of precaution, not an imminent threat on the school campus. I saw her terror and can only imagine the terror of those innocent children involved in these school shootings.
What will such an experience do to a child who saw her best friend gunned down by an automatic weapon? Or to an 11-year-old who felt the need to cover herself in a classmate’s blood to throw off the shooter and make him think she was dead? Think about that. Place your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or godchild in that situation.
We Need to Talk
Now, I know how contentious the issue of guns is in this country. In fact, I debated about even writing this column because I could foresee the backlash I would receive. But for over 20 years, I have shared my family’s experiences on a number of issues that have affected us. This happens to be one of them, so I’m speaking up.
Before you stop reading, though, thinking that I’m coming after people’s Second Amendment rights, let me clear that up. I am not. I know many responsible gun owners. And while it’s not my thing, I respect those for whom it is. I have family members who are all very responsible gun owners. My own son has spent some time at a shooting range. And I have friends who responsibly use their guns to hunt. But, unfortunately, not everyone is like them.
When Felix and Kimberly Rubio left their daughter, Lexi, following an end-of-year-awards ceremony the morning of the shooting, they promised her ice cream as a celebration of her accomplishments. They never got the chance for that celebration because Lexi was killed that afternoon in the Uvalde shooting.
As a mom, I have also made those promises of ice cream and celebrations. I have been blessed that I have been able to keep them.