Helpless and hopeless is how I feel after every mass shooting. It takes several days to get a grip, especially when the killing takes place in a school.
School shootings are personal. I am a retired teacher.
As the faces of victims cross my screen, I see eager, bright teenagers on the cusp of adult life. Most are ready to conquer the world, to do good, and they sparkle with life. I know them even though I don’t.
Then I see the faces of teachers and administrators who have sacrificed themselves. I know them too. Most educators I have known would instinctively protect their students from harm. I can visualize the coach down the hall opening his locked door to offer safety to running children. I can easily imagine the young English teacher attending to an injured child or colleague.
It is all so sad and unnecessary, so I lick my wounds briefly and then I start to see fiery-red waves of anger. Anger is good for a time. It can be a good motivator. It almost always pushes me to act.
I see anger red when Paul Ryan appears on the news telling us not to have a knee-jerk reaction. Let me tell you something, Mr. Paul Ryan. If it were your dead child lying in a pool of blood you would change your tune. Please don’t ever say that again.
I see red when Thom Tillis of North Carolina (my state) says he is praying for the families. Take your prayers and shove’em, Mr. Tillis, until you’re ready to give up NRA money and take a stand against the AR-15.
I see red when President #45 addresses the Parkland community, vaguely mentioning mental health, but offering no solutions, thus putting an onus on the students for not monitoring the gunman’s social media activity. It’s nice of you to make an appearance among them, though I imagine you’ll stop by on your way to play golf at Mar-a-Lago. And by the way, how much money has the NRA contributed to your follies?
Here’s the thing, the NRA would like to keep us licking our wounds and wringing our hands. Well, listen up National Rifle Association, that’s not what real Americans do. We see red, we get angry, and we fight for change. We fight to elect citizens who will work to enact responsible gun laws and campaign finance reform. This fight is not about taking away anyone’s guns. It’s about money. Do you think we don’t know that?
The pendulum is swinging, the clock is ticking, and the NRA assault on America’s children is coming to an end. That’s how democracy works.