Between those shootings, there was one that made the news, I believe in Pennsylvania where a guy shot several other people. I saw the other day where a standoff ended in gunfire and death in Aurora, Colorado – where the Batman movie theater shootings had taken place this summer. And then there was that assbag, I forget where he was from, who set fire to his house then shot four first responders when they arrived to help him.
Do these things happen every day and we just weren't aware of them before? I mean, it’s pretty well established that when the news media succeeds in drawing people in with a major story, they continue to look for stories like that one, hoping to capitalize on the new interest. So, did the theater shooting in Colorado and the school shooting at Sandy Hook, simply ensure that the media would pick up on ANY potentially-attention-getting shooting story, thereby guaranteeing that we heard about ALL of these things that we previously would have only heard about a few of? Or, are there actually more of them happening?
About a week after the Sandy Hook thing, a kid in the school district next to where I live – a tiny rural town that is sort of a “suburb” to the tiny rural town I live in – found a shotgun shell on the school bus. He took it to a teacher or someone and officials, appropriately, locked the school down for a while. They brought in law enforcement who searched the bus and school. Nothing was found. It was most likely a kid who got the shell from his dad or older brother, thought it was cool, and just didn't know any better. Or maybe an older kid who’d gone deer hunting, forgot it was in his backpack, and it fell out. Who knows?
Two or three days after Sandy Hook, I had to pick my daughter up early from school. They’d already implemented a new security system – because of Sandy Hook – where everyone has to be buzzed in. There was a lady just in front of me so I went in the already-open door behind her. While doing so, it dawned on me that a bad guy could simply slip in behind someone who was legitimately buzzed in.
A second or two after having that thought, I noticed a Domino’s delivery kid a few feet behind me, carrying a bag of pizzas. I held the door for him, then quickly realized he could be a bad guy. But I could smell the pizza in his bag and figured I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. He turned out to be legit.
But my point is, I shouldn't HAVE to wonder whether I’m letting a bad guy in to my daughter’s school. Prior to Sandy Hook, that never would have entered my head while holding a door open for a pizza delivery guy.
My five-year old daughter, a kindergartner, told me just yesterday, that her classroom now kept its door closed and locked. She wasn't exactly sure why, but she thought it was “because of something that happened at another school somewhere or something”. She wanted to know why, and what had happened at that other school. I basically just told her that something bad happened at a school far away and that it would most likely not happen here, but that the school was just being smart and making sure that it didn't. Thankfully, she didn't press me for details.
Her response: “Oh…I thought maybe it was because bad guys might try to get in or something.”
I now live in a world where instead of wondering if people are being nice to my daughter while she's at school, I get to worry through the day that someone may shoot her. I now live in a world where I instinctively wonder if the pizza boy behind me is sneaking into a school to shoot someone. I now live in a world where when my daughter notices that doors are closed and locked in her classroom and wonders if it’s because bad guys might get her, those assumptions are not the cute and naive worries of a little girl, but are actually RIGHT.
I don’t like guns, but I get the counter arguments. I think mental illness and our de-funding of many of those social programs is a factor in all this. I don’t blame violent movies or video games, but I do think our society and most of the world has completely lost all respect for humanity. I think we've lost the wonder about the world. I know bad guys will find ways to be bad no matter what, that violence is part of the human experience, and that we can’t ever truly get rid of evil.
I know in time, the shock of these situations will pass and things will go back to “normal”. But I don’t want to become desensitized to these kinds of horrific events.
It’s not fair that we now have to jump to conclusions and assume the worst.
I want people to stop killing people – at least “innocent” people going about their daily lives in schools and movie theaters and whatnot, ya know? But I don’t want to have to have armed guards everywhere to accomplish it and I don't want tons of Average Joes walking around, packing heat "just in case".
I don’t know what the answer is.
I just know I don’t want to live in that world.