To the Editor:
Today I am angry and grieving and I will march.
Today I march for the dead children whose parents hugged them off to school not knowing it was for the last time.
I march for teachers and staff who bear the scars of survival.
I march for students reliving in nightmares the rapid-fire AR-15 bullets blasting through classroom walls and into the bodies of their friends, coaches and teachers.
I march for first responders, hospital staffs, funeral directors, church pastors and school boards, all shaken to the core.
I march for entire communities because gun violence affects every one of us.
And today, here in Killeen I will march with the students who have risen up, whose resolve will not be weakened by the NRA, whose determination will not be stopped by a “do-nothing” Congress, whose courage will not be shaken by fresh memories of more senseless shootings, and whose voices will never be silenced by gun lobbies, or anti-regulation, pro-gun organizations. They will soon be able to vote.
No one talks about what is happening inside schools everywhere on any given day. A signal goes forth: TOTAL LOCKDOWN. Lights OFF, doors LOCKED, and blinds CLOSED.
Try being me, teaching my kindergartners, but had to quickly huddle 22 little bodies to the floor in a corner of my room, seated and unable to stretch or move a muscle.
Try being my kindergartners looking at me with big eyes. My face conveys a dead serious message: “Do-NOT-make-a sound, stop-wiggling, and-I-MEAN-IT!” We have barely breathed for over 10 minutes when loud banging on the door startles a kid who bangs his head on the table leg and covers his mouth, terrified he will make a sound and blow our cover.
Administrators are simulating an attack and jerk the door handle, so we’ll be prepared for the real thing, God forbid. In the near darkness, my face softens in an effort to reassure and calm my little ones.
Eventually the “all clear” signal tells us we can breathe again. Until the next time.
We are supposed to make this world and schools safer places for our children. But even the adults can’t do this until we ban bump stocks and AR-15 rifle sales, close loopholes at gun shows, enforce wait times and thorough background checks before gun purchases and fund mental health programs.We only lack one thing: The collective WILL to take action and pass legislation.
This is America and we can and we must do this! The lives of our children literally hang in the balance.
Today I march with all who stand against gun violence.
Today we MARCHforOurLives and demand action. Join us!