This morning, we listened to a 911 call from a teacher at Columbine. She was terrified. Her students were under the library tables and she could hear the shooter outside the door. The dispatcher asked her to lock the doors, but she was paralyzed with fear and couldn’t bring herself to get that close to the shooter, knowing she had babies of her own at home.
We found out later that 10 of the 12 deaths that day occurred in that library.
Would I be brave enough to face a shooter and lock the door? Could I make the best decision at the drop of a hat for the safety of my students? I’d like to say I would, but who knows.
Society loves to hate teachers. All you have to do is read a few Facebook comments to see it. But in an active shooter situation, teachers are expected to be heroes; to give their lives for their students.
I don’t know what to think. At what point is it too much? Is it the 8,000 hours of overtime for no pay? The daily abuse we receive from people over the phone, email, or car rider line? The expectation to use our bodies to shield students from gunfire?
This job is TOO. MUCH.
I have said REPEATEDLY that I have never lived in a City so tormented by a desire for violence nor plagued with on such a scale for a city this size that I cannot believe how a place that has such aspirations for greatness does nothing about the problems that will always paralyze its intended growth. Right now the Legislators are debating whether wine should be sold on Sundays. Dear God I pray to you that they shut the fuck up and grow up here. From guns everywhere to the sign IN GOD WE TRUST in school entrances, our Legislature is about how to ensure that if you aren't praying for your life you will be. Thank GOD they shut down a bar for having a drag show. Yes RuPaul you are not allowed here!
There is of course the ongoing debate that Teachers should be armed and I listened to a Florida legislator validate that thought using the most absurd rationale, I thought this dude needs to be schooled.
Then I heard another who is all about mental health and that was some law where we can get anyone shoved into a mental health ward for 72 hours and then once labeled nuts they can't buy a gun. Sure heard that one before.
Fortune Magazine had this:
Commentary: America’s Response to Gun Violence: a Cycle of Mourning and Failure
By Sandro Galea February 16, 2018
On Wednesday, a gunman killed 17 people and wounded at least a dozen others at a Parkland, Florida high school. This act was shocking, evil, and, in America, routine. There have been 30 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year, And just last October, a gunman in Las Vegas killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s modern history.
This cycle of mass shooting after mass shooting, again and again, inevitably pushes us to ask the question: Why? Why does this keep happening? While many answers are proposed, we may perhaps find some insight by considering what we know about human behavior after mass traumatic events.
In 2014, our team studied more than 330 mass traumas worldwide over the past 50 years to better understand the psychology of how populations react to events like gun massacres. We found that human reaction to these events takes the form of roughly five stages.
The first stage is group preservation. This is when those affected seek shelter and information to protect themselves while they are still under threat. In Parkland, we witnessed this in real time in the heartbreaking messages students who were trapped in the school posted to social media. In these messages and videos, we saw the students seek shelter in place, and ask about the safety of others, as they waited for rescue.
The second stage is population preservation. This begins when word of an in-progress traumatic event spreads to the broader community, and the community responds. Parents seek the whereabouts of their children, first responders rush toward the danger to mitigate further harm, and public figures in politics and media make their initial comments on the unfolding events.
Once the immediate physical danger has passed—the shooter subdued, the crime scene secured—the third stage, internalization, begins. Internalization is the long work of collectively processing our emotional response to the event. This stage touches not just the community directly affected by the trauma, but the observers around the country and the world who mourn with each new massacre. We grieve for the loss of life, for the pain endured by the injured and the families of the victims, and for our own shattered sense of normalcy. This process often involves creating memorials for the dead, and working through the narrative of what happened, to trace the magnitude of our loss, and understand how it came to be.
This leads to stage four, the externalizing stage, where we assign blame for the tragedy, and identify the outside causes that have enabled a pattern of mass shootings in the U.S. As we process the aftermath of a mass shooting, we begin to see the institutional failures that made it possible. When it comes to gun violence, this means our country’s lack of commonsense gun safety laws, and the entrenched opposition of the National Rifle Association and Republican lawmakers to even incremental reform.
This awareness should lead to stage five, renormalization, where we correct the underlying issues that lay the groundwork for shootings. This is, after all, what we do after nearly every other mass trauma, aiming to make a healthier world. After the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, for example, the U.S. embraced fire prevention, which has significantly reduced the number of fire deaths over the last century. However, fire never had a powerful organization like the NRA to lobby Congress on its behalf. Guns do.
So, unlike tragedies of the past, the gun violence epidemic has not led to reforms that create a healthier, safer world—we are not at stage five. Instead, we face a world where we accept the regular slaughter of innocents as the price we pay for the right to own assault rifles and bring them wherever we want, no matter how troubled we may be. We remain frozen at stage four, able to see clearly the cause of this sordid status quo—the proliferation of guns in our society. As long as we are unable to muster an effective, humane response at the legislative level, we will never get to stage five. And the killing will continue.
I finally pulled out my drafts of my book and decided to focus on writing what it like to live here where they believe Church, Family and God - an invisible higher being who is largely the creation of a work of fiction - will resolve problems versus having true legitimate resources in place to build a stronger healthy community. Those include job training programs, affordable housing, a decent educational and affordable (for higher ed) system and in turn and MOST IMPORTANTLY access to health care that includes mental health counseling.
Now what is that about? Money. Yes we need effective laws to eliminate the amount of guns on the street. That is actually cheaper and easier than doing any or all of the above. The reality that President Idiot in Chief thinks it is a mental health issue is right but then this is the man who did nothing to figure out how to get comprehensive health care across the country and did as much as he could to do otherwise. So rely on prayer to cure that cancer and clearly the shooter in Parkland is not the only one who could do for a session on a Psychiatrists couch.
We don't have enough primary care Physicians in this country to care for even the most minor ailments let alone decent well trained mental health providers. I have yet to meet a Therapist with their own shit together let alone ones I would trust that thinks giving me a prescription is sufficient course of action. Again in Parkland there were close to a dozen Police calls to the home of the shooter and we all know how qualified and trained Police are at ascertaining mental health. I still laugh at the Cop who had the audacity to stand in my home and say to me: You are depressed and anxious. What the flying fuck? Yes I am in my pajamas with no teeth with two cops standing in my living room about my temper tantrum four days earlier over a 18K bill that Vanderbilt failed to communicate with me appropriately about and yet in 10 minutes you made a diagnosis that does what? Prevents me from buying a gun? Or gets me committed for 72 hours and in turn labels me crazy. Then in turn harms me from getting work, health care insurance and in turn puts me on a legal report that does nothing for community safety. Destroys my life but hey so what. Thanks this is where we are going and it is not going well.
I have said this and will say it again - Children are the reflection of the adults in their lives. Read that comment by the Teacher about the abuse she takes on a daily basis. It is not healthy, it is not safe nor is it sane. Call the Cops they can figure it out. Oh wait they have Police in every school, the doors are locked here, ID is required to enter through only one door you are buzzed into. The Police monitor the car pick up line and at one school where I had an Autistic boy who was also a runner. I had no idea who is parents were or whom was picking him up. Is that a good idea that I stand there and try to figure this out? Apparently yes and when I asked the Police standing there he made fun of him and said that he was fine. Really? They are fucking douchebags here, and by they I mean the Adults.
Everyday I pray for my SAFETY. There is something truly wrong here and I realize that no prayer, no gun will save my life only I will. I have no intention of saving anyone else as it is just quid pro quo. So if a shooter arrived I would do what everyone else does, run and pray for my life. The mysterious invisible man with this thing called luck may save me or not. God is luck and smarts and knowing to stay calm, find an exit, that is all me. Gun control, however, that is about men and the men in Congress do nothing. They have had several colleagues, two Presidents in the 20th Century felled by guns but they do nothing. How is that prayer working out for you?