what do we want? gun control! when do we want it? now!

On Tuesday I volunteered in my daughter’s Kindergarten classroom.

After about thirty minutes of being at the school it occurred to me that I should probably get a “volunteer” sticker since proper identification of school guests is probably of high priority to school faculty after the events in Newtown. As a mom of a Kindergartner, the horrific school shootings are on the forefront of my mind, so I can only imagine that the front office staff and faculty have it emblazoned on their brains.

I walked into the front office and asked where I could sign-in and find my sticker. The woman behind the desk, pointed me in the right direction and then gave me a poignant smile that cut to my core. She said simply, “thank you.” We both knew what the other person was thinking.

Two hours later, while in the middle of the class rotations, the all-school P.A. system started to sound. In slow motion I heard a bell tone, followed by the words “Teachers, students, and guests, this is a lockdown . . . drill.” That split second between the words “lockdown” and “drill” felt like an eternity in which my heart skipped 26 beats.

Within 30 seconds, the blinds were closed, doors locked, lights off, kids on the floor. Thirty-three Kindergartners huddled by their desks.

I looked across the table from where I was crouched on my two bad knees and I saw my 6 year old holding my 4 year old who was there “volunteering” with me for the day. It was a visual I will never forget. The two of them intertwined, their innocence wrapped up with one another, not realizing the implications of this seemingly simple “drill.”

Another mom volunteer came to stand by me, holding her 2 year old. She had tears streaming down her face and she whispered, not necessarily to me but to the universe, “What has happened to our world?”

Then I heard footsteps down the hallway, and loud banging. As part of the drill, someone was assigned to walk down the corridors, banging on the doors to simulate what “it” might be like, you know, another Newtown incident.

The kids kept quiet during the banging, with little to no commotion. And there we remained, hushed and huddled in a dark classroom for at least ten minutes.

In the middle of it all, the words of the mom next to me echoed in my ear, “What has happened to this world?” In the silence of the room, I choked back tears, I didn’t want any of the children to see me crying, particularly my own kids, and my mind raced with a million different thoughts. What could this possibly have been like for those kids and teachers at Sandy Hook?  How are we as a nation going to stop this insanity? How am I going to explain this “drill” to my kids?

I even thought for a moment about the Frank family that I have seen portrayed so many times in the Diary of Anne Frank,  crouching in the dark recesses of their hideaway, hoping not to be found by the Nazi soldiers. Though different in their details, both situations seem preposterous and monstrous to me.

Yesterday, President Obama thankfully came out with 23 executive actions to promote gun control. He is answering the nations call to stop this madness. Of course he is being met with hurdles and by the NRA and other conservatives that think “armed guards at schools” is the answer. That makes my stomach turn. Armed guards at schools? That’s your answer?

I was outraged over this issue before the lockdown drill incident and now I’m even more heated and ready to fight. This morning I read an Op-Ed piece on CNN that talks about the importance of our citizens educating ourselves on the issues and rallying together in favor of President Obama. He is not saying we can’t bear arms, he is not taking away our rights granted by the 2nd Amendment, he is simply saying the average citizen does not need assault rifles and semiautomatic guns that can kill massive amounts of people in minutes. He is being pro-active towards stopping the killing sprees and the violent madness.

Yesterday President Obama spoke, calling his plan “agressive and ambitious” and I say bravo. He went on to say, “This is our first task as a society—keeping our children safe . . . These are our kids.”

From my crouched position in Lily’s classroom to my spot on the couch watching media coverage of the one month anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings, I can say I am 100% behind the President, his initiatives, and keeping our children safe.

I’m off to research ways I can help this cause. If you know of petitions or addresses I can sign please send them my way.

President Obama takes gun control seriously after Sandy Hook

 

[pinit]

36 Comments

  1. 1
    Gregg says:

    This woman gets it….unlike so very many still defending possession of weapons, guns specifically in modern society and the ridiculous belief that one day a twenty-first century government might have to be overthrown. I’m watching from Canada where yes, we have violent acts every day but we don’t have the proliferation of the single weapon that can end a human life so quickly. In fact, we vehemently prosecute Americans trying to enter the country with guns in their luggage. Welcome you but not your guns. My fear like everything else in my country our culture so closely resembles our neightbours to the south and the part that condones possession of crazy weapons scares me the most. Thanks for your public proclamations on this very important topic

    • Mary says:

      Thank you, Gregg, for that friendly neighbor perspective. It seems like so many other country’s citizens understand the very core of this argument.

  2. 2
    Kristin says:

    Passing info along – organization, petition, local chapters, etc. at http://onemillionmomsforguncontrol.org/

  3. 3
    Stefanie says:

    Perfectly said Mary. I couldn’t agree more. But if it was possible, I would.

  4. 4
    Evilpa says:

    You know what you needed? A concealed carry permit and a gun on your belt so you could protect those children. As long as there are areas denoted with a sign that says “Gun Free Zone”, and there are mentally ill people who can get a weapon, it doesn’t have to be LEGALLY, there will be massacres. The police are not here to PROTECT us, they are here to get the bad guys. YOU are responsible for protecting yourself, your family & your friends & neighbors if they aren’t able to protect themselves. You cannot rely on the government, you can only rely on YOURSELF!

    • Paula says:

      No that is NOT what she needed. More guns on the streets will not protect us. I am much more afraid of the person playing “Johnny Law” that might think he can take down the guy with the military style weapon with the pistol he has under his tee shirt and then accidentally kills me or my family than I am of the criminal himself. Less guns….NOT more

  5. 5

    love your accounts. I remember the lockdown drills in school~ but now as a mother I have yet to experience them in the classrooms of my children and I think I would have a completely different reaction. As a teen we all went along with the drills thinking to ourselves “oh, this’ll never REALLY happen”…then my sister’s high school was put on actual lockdown, I was in college and it hit a little harder. Now, after recent events I cry just thinking about my children ever having to be in that position.

    With all that being said, I am back and forth on the gun control issue…I agree with the position of “the average citizen has no business owning an assault weapon”, but I also don’t think ‘gun control’ is the end all to this. I think we need to look more on our society as a whole that seems to be losing it’s morals increasingly by the second….call me a skeptic but I don’t think these ‘gun bans’ are going to solve the problem. Maybe it’s a step in the right direction, sure, but to me just feels like a superficial band-aid and no one is looking at the problems beneath the surface.

    • Mary says:

      Rachael, I totally agree that it’s not the end of the conversation and just a small step int the right direction. There are so many factors at work here. But I still think gun control is an issue since there are countless stories of gun-involved incidents on a day to day incident.

  6. 6
    Michele Clutter says:

    No, I get it. You don’t need an assault rifle until you NEED one. Then where do you want to crouch?
    This is about mental illness…….NOT guns. Get REAL people. All these crazies that have done mass shootings had danger signs screaming above their heads. HELLLOOO! Better mental health…not gun control.

    • Paula says:

      I can’t think of a single instance in my almost 62 years on this earth that I have thought to myself…gee I wish I had an assault rifle to deal with this. We don’t need these kinds of guns in the hands of any of our citizens….period

  7. 7
    Theresa says:

    Thank you Mary!!! I still get all choked up thinking about this.

  8. 8
    SurferWife says:

    Why not BOTH, Michelle Clutter?

  9. 9
    Paula says:

    Thank You. It seems that it is much harder to support gun control than it is to buy a gun. I find myself to be much more afraid of all the ‘crazies’ who are carrying guns legally than I am of the ocassional criminal that shows up with a gun.

  10. 10
    SingleMama says:

    I am looking at schools to send my son to next year, and I hate that I have been thinking about which one is the “safest” and the “least likely for something like this to happen”. Makes me a nervous wreck.

  11. 11
    Michele Clutter says:

    Exactly. You can’t think of one time you needed it. What if you did? I don’t guess the everyday innocent people in the Sudan, Rwanda, Serbia etc. ever thought they would need one either. Want to ask them if they wished they’d had one when murderers knocked on their doors? Are you naive or just haven’t paid attention to history? You may NEVER need one. I hope to heaven you don’t, but what if????

    • Paula says:

      Michelle I refuse to live my life in fear of what ifs? And I would NEVER use a military rifle in front of my grand kids to take care of any kind of murderer that knocked on my door. I am NOT naive and I have paid plenty of attention to history. It is the history of this country that we are now leaving to our kids and grand kids that I am most worried about. I don’t want them to think that while they live in the Greatest country in the world, they need a pistol in their pocket and an assault rifle in the corner to get through the day. We will just enjoy life and pray to God that this country wakes up before it is too late for all of us. I think the devil is at work as we speak. And I feel sorry for you if you are living your life with a ‘what if’ attitude.

  12. 12
    IlinaP says:

    Sandy Hook Promise. This is a good first step for us all. http://www.sandyhookpromise.org/

  13. 13
    Kathy says:

    Well said Mary.

  14. 14
    Morgan says:

    You do realize that NONE of the executive actions signed by President Obama would have prevented what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary right? The AR-15 “assault rifle” never entered Sandy Hook Elementary, it was removed from the trunk of a car that evening in the parking lot of the school. The only weapons found inside the school were handguns, which are still legal even after all of these executive orders.

    Do you REALLY think more laws would have prevented Adam Lanza from killing all of those children? He broke the law some 43 different times. I highly doubt adding one more would have stopped it. These executive orders and laws are only going to give you a false sense of security. They don’t solve the problem, which is mental health and NOT legal gun ownership.

  15. 15
    Aimee says:

    Doesn’t the school have a code for a lockdown? Say, “Would Mrs. Stevenson please come to the office?” over the loudspeaker. Of course, there is no Mrs. Stevenson – It’s a code the teachers understand as a lockdown. I’m not missing the point of your post, I just think there needs to be better reactions to a possible crisis.

  16. 16
    JRo says:

    The bottom line is gun control is fine if that makes you feel safe, However the reality aspect of it is, Criminals don’t follow laws. The young man responsible for the Newtown shooting did not exactly apply for a gun permit legally. Drills are fine as well just as long as you realize you will never be 100% prepared. There are billions of scenarios you just never know if you will have deal with or not. As for signing in and signing out? I doubt a criminal will do that either unless of course they walk into the Philadelphia School system hence the kidnapping this past week.

  17. 17

    I cried the day I picked up my kids from school that Friday of the Sandy Hook tragedy. I didn’t even realize how much it hit home all day until that moment I saw their faces, still naive to the news and innocent of knowing what evil takes place in our world. I actually did tell my children that day what happened, in a short and absent of details kind of way, so they would know how important it is to give mommy a hug when I drop them off in the morning and listen to their teachers in a drill scenario and because sadly it does our children no good to be naive and innocent. But, back to the topic… gun control is what I posted about for a couple of weeks on Facebook having controlled debate with several “friends” about why this is at least a wake up call to move in the “right” direction. None of us has a crystal ball and can be certain what is the right answer, but collectively the masses are saying loudly and clearly that the issue of gun control is at least important and plays some role in the future prevention of massacres. When a massacre is prevented we won’t know about it, there won’t be blatant headline news reading “Gun Control Saves School of 500 Elementary Kids” because what and who we save is not measurable in the same way as the ones who have been sacrificed for us to learne we must do SOMETHING. I’m with the comments here about this is not enough – mental illness needs to be addressed. I will be interested in seeing those who cover the crime scene have to say about what could have been done that would have protected more of those children. School pick up has changed drastically at our school and I imagine many others – it is a big PITA but it is a daily reminder of those who died that December morning and collectively we are just trying to do what is best to keep our babies safe. May, I don’t know if I would haave been able to hold it together like you did. Good job mama.

  18. 18
    gigi says:

    My kids told me about the lockdown drill that afternoon. They didn’t say there was someone banging around and pretending to be an intruder. OMG, their innocence is still there. They don’t know to be that scared, thank God.

    My husband is actually in tech for the public sector for all of SD county, and he’s working on a presentation that will show some of the school superintendents just how easy and inexpensive it is to put additional measures (panic buttons and less obvious alerts to teachers and students that a lockdown is happening) in place to protect schools a little better. I hope they respond to it. I don’t feel good about the lack of security at the school your kids and mine attend!

  19. 19
    Helena says:

    I can’t even imagine how scary that drill was. That pause before “drill” would have given me a heart attack!

    I completely, completely agree that “the average citizen does not need assault rifles and semiautomatic guns that can kill massive amounts of people in minutes.” I’m all for that kind of gun control.

    On the flip side, I was reading that the shooters at Columbine originally couldn’t get their hands on guns, and so they were making pipe bombs to throw into the class rooms. They got the guns pretty last minute, and did that instead. Thank goodness (weird to say that) because bombs thrown into the classrooms would have killed so many more kids. And Kurt has a friend in England, who was saying that guns are illegal and pretty impossible to get. So people get stabbed in crazy high rates. Which is what happened that same week in December at that school in China, a man went in and started stabbing little kids.

    This is why I do want armed security guards at school. It’s not a perfect answer, or even a good one, but when faced with other possibilities…? Bad people can get guns, anyone can make a bomb, and everyone has access to knives.

    • Jean says:

      Helena, thank you for your take on this. I agree with you.

        • Mary says:

          Hi Helena and Jean! My long lost tribe! xoxoxo Thank you for your comments. Helena, I see your point about the guards but recently I just read about an armed guard who left his gun in the school bathroom on “accident”. I just see the potential for accidental things happening, but who knows at this point. Just makes me so sad that we are even thinking about it!

  20. 20
    Mando says:

    Best thing about this is Americans having conversation.
    There is not a right or wrong here. This is a chance for the people to discuss, hopefully with respect and open minds, a tough issue. The 2nd Amendment is to protect us from our government. I am supportive of proposals to require background checks for gun purchase. Makes sense. Keep in mind that will not keep lunatics and bad people from getting guns. We live in a country that is losing common courtesy and respect for others. Maybe we need to focus on educating young people and holding them accountable again. Raise the standard. We still live in the greatest country in the world and we need to remind our young people of that fact. What makes us great is our unique melting pot culture. The best from all over the world to create America and Americans. One Nation, under God, INDIVISIBLE – the word that is sadly disappearing. There is a middle ground somewhere on this issue, lets encourage our leaders to find it, give a little on each side and move on to the next issue. The goal, no more tragedies for children and parents.

    • Mary says:

      Thank you for this thoughtful comment. I hope the policy makers and people at the crux of real change will be able to converse civilly about the issue, find that middle ground and make some progress.

      • Mando says:

        So do I Mary. Our children are the future of our nation. We owe them the hard work it takes to create positive change. We must always remember that politicians work for us. Vote for change if that is what it takes. First time on the site and love it!

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