Another shooting at a school…
I saw the news and my first reaction was apathy. ANOTHER shooting, ANOTHER chance for people to protest, ANOTHER opportunity for politicians to fein outrage and sympathy while doing absolutely nothing of value.
I recently went to a gun range for the first time. My sisters were visiting Atlanta and shooting is one of those bucket list activities that we wanted to complete. I didn’t feel much at first. It’s a testosterone-filled environment but I’ve been to the gym….plus, my sisters are both gorgeous so that takes the focus off of me. We had to choose guns and the clerk was nice and made a recommendation: 9mm.
When we got inside the range, I started to feel fear. There were the kind of guys hanging around that I used to dread in high school, masculine, rough-looking, frat boy types. One set of them was shooting with an automatic rifle and the sound/vibration was enough to scare the hell out of me. It sounds like multiple bombs exploding.
When I was little, I wasn’t even allowed to own a toy gun. I can remember one Christmas when my aunt gave me a cowboy set with hat, holster and two guns. My parents allowed me to play with them until we left and then took them away. I don’t know why they felt so strongly. My father was in the military but he certainly didn’t like guns.
So just holding a gun was terrifying. I was aware of the deadly force it represented. Like most things though, there were rules and someone close by to help. I followed the rules and tested it out, managing to master my fear. It was an interesting experience but not one I will rush back to repeat.
As a result of my experience, the news of this shooting had a different effect on me. When I was in high school, I never worried about a gun in school. I worried that people would find out I was gay. I worried about getting beaten up by some guy out to prove a point. I worried about failing grades and getting into college. In high school, I was babysitting across the street when a friend was shot by his brother and almost died. He only survived because the blast of the gun knocked him back and the bullet didn’t dig far enough into his brain to do more damage. I worried about him.
I can’t imagine hearing those mini-explosions, sitting in geometry. Fearing for my life as classmates get shot and die. Teachers trying to protect student lives.
And then I remembered that I have nephews and nieces that will soon be high school age. They will grow up in a time that they have to be aware of guns and school shootings. There is a chance, however remote, that one of those precious kids could be shot while studying in the library.
…and then my apathy evaporated. I found my own rage and grief at what happened. And I asked “Why?”
I have no answers, no miracle cures.
I only have two hands and the desire to keep my family safe.
I know that more guns are not the answer.
I know that more children will die until WE change.