I worried about a lot of things when it came to moving our family back to the US. Would US schools actually be a better fit for Rhi? Would Elanor adjust okay? Would they make friends? Would their teachers be nice? Would I get along with the other parents? Tons of small little anxieties.
But the big fear was school shootings. You can say a lot of negative things about Singapore’s schools, but I never worried about a shooting in or out of school there.
There have been two school shootings since we’ve been back. Maybe three. I’ve lost track. The same old song and dance happen each time a shooting occurs. Thoughts and prayers. If the teachers had had guns. Guns aren’t the problem. Everything but guns are the problem. On and on and on and on. People get angry. People swear that we should do something. Nothing gets done.
My daughters’ school is like a lot of schools. It’s a small collection of buildings with covered walkways between them for the few days a year it rains. Lots of windows. No guards. No fence completely surrounding it–in fact, it uses the park next door for Physical Education. Sure, visitors are SUPPOSED to sign in, but there’s nothing stopping someone from just walking onto campus.
Nothing to stop someone with a gun just walking onto campus.
There are those who say the answers are metal detectors, campus security, clear backpacks, and other measures that amount to security theater. Because if I’ve learned anything about guns in America from my nearly forty years on this planet–(a) they’re never going to be banned so someone with an agenda will always be able to get one (b) campus security leads to abuse of students of color not protection of students–oh, and lest we forget, campus security ran when it came to Florida–campus security has never stopped a gunman from mowing down our children (c) there’s always someone with an axe to grind, and (d) none of that would have stopped the shooter at Sandy Hook elementary who murdered twenty children all the same age as my two and six adults and it wouldn’t stop a shooter who took aim at the playground at my children’s school.
I am probably like most parents who aren’t rabid gun nuts. I hug my children a little tighter. I call my representatives. But I still send my children to school each day. I push thoughts of guns pointed at their playground from my head. I try not to think about what if a fifth grade boy decides to bring a gun to school because some girl wouldn’t go to a dance with him. (And yes, I’m pointing at men–when was the last time a woman committed a mass shooting in America and what percentage of shooters are women? White men are by far the most dangerous group to have access to guns.)
I have to push my fears out of my head. How can I function otherwise? Do I never take them to a movie because of the mass shooting in a movie theater a few years ago in San Bernadino, CA? Do I never let them go to school or to college? I can’t live—can’t let them live—with that sort of fear.
But every time I hear about another school shooting, I wonder how many more will happen before something is done, and I worry that the answer is infinite. Especially in America, home of the NRA with their stranglehold on the legislative branch, and the misrepresentation of the second amendment which provides for a well regulated militia not individual ownership of assault rifles.
Dear children of America–we’re failing you.