There was another school shooting incident today. A student who had recently been expelled showed up at graduation practice with a gun. He was confronted by the school resource officer, they exchanged gun fire, the young man was shoot and taken into custody. Thankfully, no one else was physically injured. Tragedy averted. Move on. But you see, this one was personal to me. My nephew was sitting in that gym.
Now, you may think that I’m going to get all political here and talk about school shootings and gun control because, after all, that’s what happens after an event like this. Everyone and their bother feels free to express their opinion on why guns should/should not be banned, why schools should/should not employ armed guards, install/not install metal detectors, bullet proof doors, better locks etc., etc., etc. Today, I don’t want to talk about any of that. I don’t want to hear the gym doors shouldn’t have been open. I don’t want to hear a single word of arm-chair-quarterback shoulda, coulda.
Quite the opposite. Today, I want to hear, “I’m so glad everyone is safe.” Today I want to hear, “The SRO is a hero.” Today I want to hear, “I’m praying for the emotional well-being of all those students and teachers.” I want to hear, “I’m sorry they had to go through this.” Today I want to hear only unqualified sympathy and support, to hear that you care.
Today, hug your children tight. Don’t just tell them you love them. Make sure they know it. And remember this day when they wreck the car, fail a class, or come home drunk. When they make every dumb decision they possibly can. When they are driving you absolutely mad. Remember this day and how easily they can be taken from you.
There will be plenty of time in the future to debate the best way to secure the safety of our students and staff without making them feel they are locked in a prison. There will be plenty of time to evaluate the procedures that were in place for an active shooter and how well they were implemented. There will be plenty of time to determine how best to deal with student discipline and mental health issues. There will be time to debate the death penalty for mass shooters and shooting a police officer. There will be time to debate the proper age to prosecute as an adult.
Just. Not. Today.