My son told his principal that he thought the school’s many windows were dangerous because a gunman could shoot through the glass. My daughter tells me that when she feels someone standing behind her, her first thought is that they might have a gun.
My kids go to school where they participate in active shooter drills, lockouts and lockdowns.
At a local high-school a boy gave his life to defend his classmates. A girl from Florida came to Colorado to die and our schools closed. My children were only babies when a man stormed into Platte Canyon and forever changed a community. This year we recognize twenty years since Columbine.
And what has changed?
We ask how and why and where do we go from here or we don’t talk about it at all. Our kids are growing up amid these tragedies, preparing, practicing in case it happens to their school next. And in the meantime, they grow numb because that is the only way they can focus on learning quadratic equations or discussing a classic novel.
Adults take to Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and instead of doing what adults are supposed to do - talk, discuss, mediate, debate, find solutions, work together - all the things we hope our kids are learning behind locked doors at school, instead we get mired in like-minded camps where we toss out opinion grenades about gun rights and mental health and bad parenting and social media and we blame and blame and blame until we get lost in hateful discourse and bitter disagreements.
I don’t have answers. I wish I did. I do talk to my kids about all of it. The fear, the sadness of lost and angry kids, the power of empathy and compassion, and then I change the subject because they need a little bit of numbness in order to still be a kid.
But we adults shouldn’t rest in our numbness. We need to do something, try something, discuss something, agree on something, because all of our children deserve at least that.