A long time ago, when I was a little girl sitting in my second grade classroom, I had an unusual daydream. I dreamt that a man burst into our classroom with a machine gun and opened fire on us. I saw myself quickly shoving my desk upwards and stopping the spray of bullets from hitting me. I can’t really tell you why I had that dark fantasy. Back then, school shootings were rare and there weren’t horrific mass shootings like we are seeing today. Maybe it resulted from the rising amount of violence on television shows and an overactive imagination. But today, with all the mass shootings taking place and broadcasted all over, I can only imagine the nightmares going through children’s minds.
I believe and hope that we are now witnessing an important tipping point for violence in schools. Quite clearly, the collective consciousness of our national youth has had enough. The survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have bursted on the national scene, mobilizing to lobby their state and national governments to do something to counter the growing wave of school violence. This movement has managed to push Florida to enact new laws that defy the NRA. Here’s what these kids’ actions have caused to happen:
New law includes
minimum age to 21
extending waiting period to 3 days
make school safer
fund school police officers and mental health counselors
allow local school districts and sheriffs to arm certain school personnel.
ban bump stocks
ban assault weapons
suspend AR-15 sales
ban high-capacity magazines
strengthen background checks
Many people on different sides of gun violence debate are thinking this is a terrible solution. I have to disagree. Something is much better than nothing. Some concrete action was taken, which is a big improvement compared to many other similar events that ended up in big, messy stalemates. Unfortunately, we are still seeing in Washington the all too familiar deadlock. Though frustrated by this, I am still hopeful that something constructive may transpire on the national stage.
Closer to home, there was an impressive showing of support from our own teenagers and kids in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. A large number of high schoolers and elementary kids stepped out at 10 am yesterday for 17 minutes. These actions did not go unnoticed. CNN showed students from East Chapel Hill High School participating in the walkout. Their courage and determination fill me with pride and hope. I was particularly struck by the messages kids carried on their signs. Here are a few that resonating deeply in me:
what if your kid was 1 of the 17?
I shouldn’t be afraid to go to school
I should feel lucky to go to school, not lucky that I came home alive.
Am I next?
Enough is enough
I also surfed images of the protest. One in particular moved me. In this picture, all the students lay still on the ground in random positions, enacting the gruesome outcome result of a mass shooting. This country needs to listen to the students. We need to put an end to school shooting. Thank goodness for this growing movement. The next big step is the national protest in Washington DC on March 24th. We all need to help our kids. If you haven’t already done so, please check out the website The March for Our Lives at www.marchforourlives.com