Is this our new normal?

***This was written a few months ago and it was saved so I could edit later. Things were too new, too raw and I was afraid of sharing something I would later regret.

Today I told my eleven year old to not be a hero.

In the past two months school shootings have shook our country. One was just a few hours away from where I live in this great state of Kentucky, another happened yesterday in Florida. There have been others that haven’t got as much national attention. This can’t be our new normal. We can’t become ok with this happening. We can’t become numb or even calloused to it the way we have addiction killing people. We can’t be unmoved like we have been about abortion being a thing that happens. Children being murdered in school needs to be equally thought provoking and horrifying. It’s the only way something will be done about it.

I had to talk to an 11 year old boy about what he should and shouldn’t do if an active shooter rampaged his school. Do we understand the magnitude of that? My 8 year olds have come home from school and told me they practiced a drill today for “if a bad guy came into their school”. This is a part of our everyday life. Mentally unstable human beings are walking into schools, of all grade levels and killing people. We need our schools better protected. We protect government buildings of all kinds, but not a school. A school is virtually a government building where the most vulnerable are for 35+ hours a week.

No parent or guardian should be concerned upon dropping a child off to school that it may be the day that child dies. No child should be murdered while at school and that is what this is. It is often labeled a mass shooting. It is murder. It is mass murder. In its truest form it’s even terrorism. These are our children being murdered. That has shook me to the core. I cried today after dropping off my son at school. I thought of what it would be like for him if this horror happened at his school. I even pictured my twin’s second grade teacher attempting to comfort a class full of 7 and 8 year olds who are hiding behind desks and tables. This is the reality we all need to face. We need to put ourselves in the shoes of these students and faculty and think about it. What can we do? I don’t know. I want answers just as much as the next person.

I am not anti gun. While I firmly believe certain guns have no reason to be in the hands of an average US citizen, I respect the right to bear arms. I guess I should say I respect the right to bear (some) arms. Let me stress though, I personally do not like guns. It’s no different than the fact that I dislike certain foods. I have tried them and I simply didn’t like them. I have gone shooting. It is just not something I enjoy. I don’t like the feel of it or the power that comes from it, but I wanted to learn how to fire one. I wanted to be comfortable enough that if all that stands between me and someone harming my family is a gun, I am able to fire hell out of it.

This morning I told my son not to be a hero. I told him to run or to hide, I told him to be smart about what he should do, but act fast. I told him to not even attempt to reach out to me until he was beyond sure he was safe. I told him that a text can wait until he is safe. This madness has to stop. On both sides of the gun argument members of our government need to get their heads out of their butts and find a solution that will stop our children from being murdered. Again, I don’t have the answers, but I’m going to start looking for them. I want to be a part of the change that prevents this terrorism from happening.

I have hope that the day will come when we don’t have to tell our kids to not be a hero. We’ll be able to just let them be kids.

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