March 8, 2018
I received a text from my son that announced that there was a gun threat or shooting at his high school this morning. So many thoughts immediately ran through my head. Of course as a parent the first thoughts are — is he safe?, where is he?, can he hear gun shots?, who is he with?. Then as information began coming via text from my son, I quickly understand that he is in a secure space with administrators and the rest of the student body. I was told there were 5-6 police cars outside the building. I remained as calm as I could be and began to process whether there is anything I can do. I quickly realize I have no choice but to wait and hope for the best.
Luckily within 15-20 minutes I learn the principal has announced that the students are safe. Within another 5 minutes the Superintendent sends an e-mail stating that all students are safe, law enforcement is on the scene investigating, and that it is believed that the incident was a false report.
The timing of this incident is peculiar, given the recent incident in Florida that left 17 students dead. The Florida incident has stirred such a debate about gun control that it is a constant conversation at my dinner table. Should my son be a part of the National School Walkout (March 14th at 10am for 17 minutes) calling for an end to gun violence and to reform gun control?, What about a show of solidarity and respect for the 17 students who lost their lives?, What is in the best interests of our student body?, teachers?, community?, law enforcement? If my son does not participate in the National Walkout, the message could be seen as a lack of respect for the loss of lives. Overall, I feel like the goal of the National School Walkout is confused with a show of respect for the lives that were lost.
Further, I think that after todays events at my sons high school there is a perfect opportunity to have a conversation about what would we have wanted to happen this morning in the schools if there was a real shooter or a real threat?
While I don’t think teachers should be held accountable for carrying a weapon in the school environment, I worry that without a weapon available in certain situations our students and teachers are at risk. Could stun guns or tranquilizer guns be a viable answer to stop someone that has bad intentions for our students and teachers? Perhaps if we can find a way to stop a intruder, even if for a short period of time to end the incident, we can stop more people from being needlessly killed in the future.
What is the answer? — metal detectors in the front doors of our schools?, police officers trained and prepared to use a weapon if necessary?, more law enforcement present in our schools/community?, each classroom with a stun gun or tranquilizer gun in its cache of supplies?, guns not allowed by citizens?
In the end, I think our society has lost boundaries, its sense of humanity, and functions in a environment that is so fast paced there is no time to deal with sorrows, resentments and hurts. If we fixed our economy so that we could go back to single income homes, focused on our relationships in person (instead of on the phone) and slowed life down — could we make a positive change in humanity and diminish gun violence?
I want my son to grow up in a world where he can look at both sides of a an issue to properly problem solve how to help society be better than it currently is. How do we protect our community while simultaneously teach our children to be a part of the change to make our environment a place we all want to live in?
No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched. George Jean Nathan