Tuesday. It’s a blue-sky Oregon day when I drop my daughter off at school, the little one. Her older sister is already a half-hour into first period a few miles down the road. It’s the last week of classes. Out here in Portland we go until mid-June. I drop Lila at the curb, like always, and I channel-surf the radio as I’m pulling away. Halfway down the row of my radio presets, the newsman is reporting an active shooter. It’s live. It’s local. It’s obviously a school.
He says: “Cops rush to the scene from all directions.” He says: “LifeFlight helicopter circles above the building.” He says: “Active shooter.” But he doesn’t say where. Where?
And I pray: Please, not my kid’s school. Please, not my kid’s school. Please, not my kid’s school.
There’s a split-second relief when he says the name, Reynolds High School. Not my kid’s school. She is safe. By the middle of next week she’ll be bored with summer, and I’ll be tired of her boredom.
A split-second of relief and then the sick-gut feeling. Here it is, another shooting, and this one is way too close to home.
I don’t know what’s most disturbing:
By next week we will be burying another boy.
This is on us, my friends. These are our communities, our schools, our children. You know who’s going to make the killing stop for us? Nobody. The question here is no longer “When will this end?” It’s “What are we going to do right now to end it?”
No, really. I’m asking. Because, of course, we all agree our schools must be safe. They must. Writing to my congress people feels so insufficient, but so far it’s what I’ve got. My fantasy involves a Safe Spaces campaign where every adult in America pitches in 10 bucks to buy back our government from the NRA Lobbyists and demand gun reform. But that seems implausible. So I’m asking, with all my heart, I’m asking you for your thoughts. If we don’t have the solution, let’s at least have a though provoking conversation.
If you’re interested in taking action, visit these sites to learn more. Got other ideas to contribute? Please comment below.
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