Active Shooter Drill

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I don’t know how old you are as you read this; I am 36 years old. I can remember April 20, 1999, the day of the Columbine High School shooting, very well. I was a junior in high school, just 16 years old. I remember how scary the thought of this kind of atrocity was. A couple of days afterwards, we did an active shooter drill at my school. It happened during a chemistry class where I was a teacher’s aide. I remember thinking--so naïvely--that if someone shot into the closet we were in, the beakers and graduated cylinders would shatter, and we would get cut. Because as sheltered as that sounds, someone, possibly someone I knew, coming into our high school and shooting me or my classmates was not something I could fathom.

Fast forward twenty years. I am no longer a naïve 16-year-old, but a working mother living in a world where these shootings have become more and more frequent. It’s May 22, 2019, and my youngest daughter, 8 years old, told me with no feeling at all that they had an active shooter drill that day at school. At 8 years old, children shouldn’t have to worry about someone coming into their school and shooting them. But this wasn’t her first active shooter drill, and it won’t be her last. We have seen time and time again--at Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School--people are killing our children, their teachers, their school staff. 

This blog is not anti-gun, or pro-gun for that matter. It is not political or religious. It is a fact. We drop our children off at school, head to work, and hope they come back alive at the end of the day, whole and happy. But at any point, anything can happen. The devastation doesn’t stop when the shooter or shooters kill themselves or are apprehended by the police. The parents of these children are heartbroken beyond anything I can begin to comprehend. Classmates that were injured but not killed have survivors’ guilt, sometimes committing suicide later because they cannot shake that feeling. Those who come out unscathed will most likely have PTSD for the rest of their lives. 

I don’t know the answers here. But, as I write this blog, there have been three mass shootings in less than three weeks, where children, teenagers, and adults were injured or died for nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We need to figure out a solution to this epidemic because, I don’t know about you, but I dropped my precious girls off at school today, with nothing more than a hope and a prayer that they come home safe to me this afternoon.