Earlier this week, my 4-year-old daughter was scared to go back to school after a week away on vacation. I reassured her that she would be fine. I don’t like feeling like I could be wrong about that. I don’t want my child to be scared of school.
Why is that not a place where I can be confident in her safety?
Wednesday morning, without knowing anything about the previous day’s events–because I haven’t yet processed my own feelings about it, let alone figured out how to (or whether to) talk with her about it–she asked for her “protector cape.” I lifted it from the hook on her closet door, and she requested that I fasten the unicorn patterned fabric around her neck. She simultaneously placed an “enchantlet” (read: snap bracelet) around my wrist. She went on to explain that now I could protect her from villains.
And my helpless heart is shattered to know that I cannot.
When will it be enough?
When will it finally feel like we have lost enough innocent lives to demand real legislative change? It wasn’t enough after Columbine. It wasn’t enough after Sandy Hook. It wasn’t enough after Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Not to mention the dozens of mass shootings at other schools in between, or the dozens of mass shootings at other would-be safe places like churches, synagogues, salons, grocery stores, and on and on and on.
When will we get our priorities in order? When will we decide to stop worshipping our country’s gun culture in favor of protecting the lives of our citizens?
When will we stop burdening children with the responsibility to protect themselves? When will we (and the powers that be) strap on our own protector capes and vow to stop the villains? Why is it on the children to hide well enough, run fast enough, or just hope they’re lucky enough to escape a murderer in their school?