Today marks another devastating day in America’s history with school shootings. As it stands presently, 10 families are grieving the loss of a loved one simply because they got up and went to school or work this morning; many more are praying for a loved one’s full recovery from senseless gunshot injuries. Aside from the physical cost, all of us will be trying to cope with the trauma and emotional injury an unprovoked attack causes.
There is nothing that anyone can say that will give solace or ease the pain for the families involved in today’s violence at Santa Fe Independent School District. I cannot imagine the grief that a parent of one of the victims is feeling tonight. I have never been in a school shooting, or lost a child, or been a victim of a violent crime, so I cannot relate. However, as a parent I feel the desperate pull in my chest and my gut for the need for safer schools and to end this senseless shooting epidemic that seems to be gripping our country. School is supposed to the safe place to send a family member each day. It is supposed to be the place for collegues to compare lesson plans or for students to make friends and discover themselves. It should not be the place that we send our children, and our police officers, and our spouses to only hope that they come back alive and uninjured.
I have no doubt that the Santa Fe school shooting will become a political issue. It always does, just as Sandy Hook and Parkland did. I just don’t think that this is a Republican vs. Democrat vs. Independent issue. It is bigger than that. It is not Trump’s fault, and it is not Obama’s fault.
This is not a gun ownership issue either. It is bigger than that as well. It is not the NRA’s fault.
I’m sure that the argument for training and arming more staff in schools will come up. I’m also sure that safety protocols will change in many schools. But what is the right answer? More security officers? More metal detectors and less entrances/exits? Stricter admittance screening for visitors in schools?
Whatever the short term fix will be this time, there is no denying that there is a moral and mental health crisis in this country. At what point did a child become so desensitized to violence and bloodshed that they felt it was ok to walk into a soft target, like a school, stroll down the hall and enter a classroom, and shooting at everyone in the room? Was there any point during the morning that this child felt that this was wrong? How could a person not feel a twinge of remorse or a sense of conscious as the gun was going off and kids were screaming or an officer was responding? Where did this loss of morality come from? Is it because of home life? Is it violent and graphic video games? Is it social media? What has happened to our youth? Perhaps we all need a little mental health treatment?
I am hearing that there were no signs or indicators that would have let anyone think this child would commit such an act. I disagree. There must have been, but no one wants to admit that they missed it and could be held accountable for such a loss of innocent life. Perhaps that person(s) is as accountable as the gunman. Was it a propped door open or a lazy office person? Either way, if we want the best teachers and the best security for our schools to protect our kids, we should want the best support staff, best officers, and best security experts putting together procedures to be followed to a T. I know that stopping this child at the door would not have stopped his plan to commit violence and then kill himself; he would have found another target, perhaps even in an office.
As a parent of a soon-to-be kindergartener, when I ask at registration how they plan to keep my child safe while he is there during the day, they better tell me something more than “every person entering the building must sign in”. They better tell me that there is a uniform officer in the building at all times; that there is only one way in and one way out; that every person entering the building has to be screened or they do not get in. I’ll let you know how that goes on Monday.