Teachers Will Not Be Carrying Weapons

I write to process thoughts and emotions. In the instance of the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting I’ve had no words. Or rather, no sentences. Plenty of words that splutter out (senseless, why?, tragic, heartbreaking, why??, horrific, scary, empathy, why???, sympathy, love, fear, WHY) but no way to form them into comprehensible sentences. After obsessively refreshing CNN, NPR, ABC, and Facebook until well after midnight Friday into Saturday I steered clear from new information for a while. I had enough to make my broken heart throb and visions race endlessly through my head. I had enough to keep a constant stream of tears coursing from my eyes, while also drinking in every cell and particle that makes up my own son and daughter. The son and daughter that every parent should have an inalienable right to hug, kiss, and tuck in at night.

I was shocked at the first Facebook status I saw in regards to protecting gun rights. How could anyone let any other thought through their heads except, SIX YEAR OLDS MURDERED? Someone’s world, their hearts, their souls…taken. Then I cried again, that people were so selfish to want to protect the cold piece of metal that was the reason for so many dead.

If you think you have freedom because you can carry a firearm, but you don’t have the freedom to be standing in a mall, movie theater, or school without harm or death; then you have fooled yourself into believing you are free.

The party’s over, pronounced someone close to me that was formerly in the military. Tell every citizen to bring their @#&%ing gun to a local armory by Wednesday. You want to hunt? Fine! Drive over, check out your weapon, hunt, and return it to the armory. No more easy access guns. It’s done. All around me others I would have thought favoring guns surprised me into commenting about the changes that needed to be seen immediately. I don’t judge anyone negatively for hunting or even shooting guns at a shooting range. It’s not something I enjoy as an extracurricular activity, but when practiced responsibly and in a safe place, it’s not a danger to others.

Of course mental health is the driving factor for this and other cases of gun violence. Mentally stable people will not kill someone, unprovoked. Yes, if a person wants to kill someone and they are unable to get a gun they may use another method. It is pessimistic to think that every mentally ill person who thinks about killing people will do so just because they could have the means somehow. Stop it! Maybe they won’t. Maybe without the ease and convenience of, say, opening your mother’s gun cabinet, a sick person will never follow through. Maybe without weapons that have the capability to shoot so many rounds in seconds, less tragedy will bring an entire country to its knees over and over again. Maybe saving even one life, having one less person murdered, is worth it.

Lastly, I’ll dispel illogical statements about having teachers carry weapons. This will never happen. Doing this will create the unsafe environment for students that you are trying to protect them from. Do you know what kind of worlds have everyone armed and trained to kill others? The increasingly popular dystopian society books do. The kind of places that you think, oh that sounds frightening. I would never want to live there.

Mental illness can begin showing signs at an early age. There are elementary teachers who need a safety procedure in place in case a disturbed student puts themself or others in danger. Often times it involves removing everyone else in the classroom and having them be in a safe place while the student rages within the classroom. It is often dangerous for staff and students to attempt to physically remove such a student. The student may be throwing furniture, using language that is abusive for the other small ears to be exposed to, or the child may be in such a black-out fit of anger that they’ll use whatever they can get their hands on as a weapon. I once had an 11 year old student stab another student in the leg with the very sharp, metal point of a math compass. Imagine if such a student knew that I had a gun in the room?

I used to keep a box cutter in my classroom. It was to cut into tennis balls that could then be placed on the legs of the chairs so they didn’t scrape up the floor. I kept the box cutter hidden, covered, in a box, in the back of a high cupboard. And no one knew of its existence. That was the only way I felt safe about it being in the room, because it is irresponsible to have weapons within reach of children. Sometimes accidents happen. Sometimes kids are pressured or bullied into trying something that crosses boundaries they normally wouldn’t cross. There’s the possibility that even a sane child could accidentally cause harm with a weapon. Classrooms are supposed to be a safe haven of peace. A place children spend the majority of their day. We want children, and adults, to feel loved, nurtured, and safe in schools. Eliminating, not adding, weapons is the answer.

Let’s entertain the teacher-with-gun scenario for a moment. Say the teacher has a weapon “safely” unloaded and locked away from children. Would the teacher be able to reach the gun in time to use it against a person randomly attacking the school? Say the teacher is at the other end of the school and has time to locate and load a weapon. The teacher even shoots the attacker, ending the barrage. Meanwhile, so much time has gone by and the weapon used by the attacker shot hundreds of rounds by the time the teacher got there. Many lives are still lost. And students are still traumatized by gun violence, a shoot-out that now involves their trusted teacher.

Guns offer an impersonal convenience. You can kill someone from a distance. The victim may not even have time to make a noise. Say a mentally ill person tries to attack people in a school with a knife. I think it’s fair to say in most cases the attacker is not going to kill as many people as the in the Sandy Hook Elementary devastation, before being overpowered. Also, I may not have gun training, but I have self-defense training, and it’s possible that I could overpower someone who’s on the same “playing field” as me. Give me a rush of adrenaline and a set of car keys and I promise you that your babies under my care will not have a hair on their heads touched.

People who come into public places and terrorizes others are terrorists. We began a war on terror many years ago, but it will continue until we end the terror that grows within our own country every day.

I pray for peace and healing to every person affected by the Sandy Hook shooting. I weep for the children and adults, beautiful souls leaving this world too soon. I hope that everyone grieving for their lost loves has arms that they are able to cry in. I hope that teachers, students, and parents everywhere will come to a time when they don’t have a nightmare what if vision constantly playing through their mind. That parents will be able to tell their child they love them before dropping them off to school, but because they do-not because they’re terrified the last words uttered to their child would be anything else. I pray that even though there will NEVER be a justifiable reason as to why these innocent people lost their lives there will be repercussions that help to save someone else.

Blogger’s Remorse

It’s not exactly like I have blogger’s remorse about my Bluugh post, but I’ll admit I was a little quick to type.  I had just been freshly annoyed and disappointed by checking out a “Top Mommy Blogs” list and clicking on a link to a blog with a witty name only, once again, to find a flashy, ad-filled blog making it hard to find any writing, let alone worthwhile writing.

But what I have come to grips with is that people blog for different reasons and I have to be accepting of that.  There is no Blog Constitution or Bloggy Rules out there that dictate what your blog looks like, or that you need a license to blog.  I think some “Mommy bloggers” just pile on the ads to make some extra money and maybe they really endorse those companies and want to share.  Who knows, maybe if I were propositioned with ad space I would roll over too?  Or maybe I would accept only a limited amount that wouldn’t take up too much space. (Like Dooce, ahh, Dooce.)  I was in fact propositioned by one company to have a giveaway of their product and I kindly refused my first proposition!  Why?  Because I couldn’t endorse the company.  So let’s see how high my horse stands down the road.  (By the way, I added the Fran & Stan button on my blog because I love, love love her stuff and have blogged about it and want my readers to be able to find her!)

The great outcome of my “Bluugh” post was that I was sent links to some amazing blogs.  Ones that I’m willing to keep an eyelid open for while nursing Liam at 2:30 in the morning.  Now, to share the wealth:

Suburban Snapshots.  A friend sent me this link which I opened and immediately saw in the sidebar this recent tweet,  ‘Am I to understand that Aeropostale has become a store that just sells stuff that says “Aeropostale?” ‘  I knew then and there that I would be a follower.    The stories lived up to my expectations as well.

Lula Inc.  The photography jumps out at me first and foremost, when I open the link to this blog.  And the writing itself is worth the read too.  Her most recent post is a letter to her daughter where I love the line, “Every single step of the way, you’ve had to teach us things like how to survive the impossible sleep habits of a newborn to the…uh…impossible sleep habits of a 3 year old. News flash, they both suck.”

And lastly, for today, is 4 Mothers which I stumbled upon myself.  The blog post I read was about all of the promises the writer had made before she was a parent.  Limited television, having patience, never leaving the house looking messy… and then actually having children and the reality…or fantasy…of those promises.  I left a lengthy comment on that one and I think I have been inspired on what to write for my next blog post as well.

Bluugh

I may not be making friends by saying this, but with ALL of the “mommybloggers” out there I have yet to find very many GOOD blogs.  Sorry.  I may or may not be talking to YOU.  Aesthetically, many of you have my modest attempt beat, hands down.  I don’t know how to do half of what’s out there, and I’m assuming that most of you invested in a web designer.  Beautiful fonts, pictures, categories and pages set up in a pleasing manner.

But where are the stories?  If you are investing in a web designer then you probably want your blog to be viewed by a wide-spread audience.  What is the reason we are going to your blog?  Your writing loses my interest within the first couple of sentences and I exit immediately.  I yearn to find a blog that has some decent writing.  Your daily giveaways and flashy advertisements leave my overstimulated brain throbbing.

Do I walk the talk?  I hope so.  We (referring to those so-called “Mommybloggers”) all want to be the next Dooce.  But the reason I absolutely idolize Heather Armstrong is because her stories make me pee-with-laughter just a little bit every time.  She is witty.  And relatable.  And damn, she takes some great photos.

Enough about my blog-crush on Dooce.  I encourage you, Blogger-I-don’t-know-personally, to write me a story about your day.  Pick a moment, zoom into it and give me some details that make me visualize exactly what it is to be in your shoes.  You educators out there who teach Lucy Calkins writing are all cringing appreciatively right now.

There.  I’ve griped and criticized for the world to see.  Take the challenge, or don’t.  Come back and read my blog, or don’t.  But I hope you do, because I try to make it worth your while.