“I love you Max,” I say, as my son leaves for high school this morning. He does his usual quick knock on the sliding glass door. Saying “I love you too” is communicated back to me in his unique “Max” way. Our parent-child morning ritual. That quick knock means the world to me, it means more than I can really express. The love for our children, with most parents, transcends a place so deep in our souls that it defies description.
Parents waking up today in Florida, having lost their children in the current school massacre—and I say “current” because I have little faith that it will not happen again—their pain I cannot fathom. I do not pretend to know their pain, but I am deeply sorry they are going through such a senseless loss.
“What did you do at school today Max?” I ask, in my usual after-school banter.
“We hid in the closet.”
“We hid in the closet”—his words swirl in my mind, taking me back to second grade. Tornado drills in the panhandle of Texas. The alarm sounded and we quickly got under our desks.
“A disaster drill for when the mass murderer shows up,” he adds.
Not “if,” but “when,” is his inner dialog to himself. The reality that our children live with this sort of distorted, brutal reality that has happened to their “own” is causing their developing minds to be affected with potential mental health disturbances and myriad psychological symptoms. Perhaps even taking a vulnerable teen and turning him or her into the next murderer.
A cycle. A cycle that will continue to spin unless an obstruction is lodged in the wheel.
A closet will not protect a huddled mass of kids from an assault rifle. In fact, with them all clustered together, it would be like shooting ducks on a pond.
Let’s have some gun-adept teachers, trained and armed, was our president’s remark yesterday. Lesson planning and teaching is their job, and they are woefully underpaid for the important job of preparing our youths for the future. Now we are suggesting they pack a gun. But maybe only 20 percent will be in the battalion of teacher protectors being thrown out as a solution to gun violence.
How long does it take to fire rounds of bullets from a war gun, slaughtering some kids, before Ed the shop teacher manages to run down the hall with his one-bullet pistol hidden in the back of his pants to disarm a deranged murderer? Might the murderer’s lightning-speed gun machine kill Ed first? Or maybe Ed keeps an assault rifle in a secure closet. How long before a twisted student’s mind breaches that closet, is my thought. Keeping guns at school seems unpredictable. As the bullets are heard, Ed is wondering where he left the key to the gun locker.
If it were not so politically incorrect, it would make a laughable skit for Saturday Night Live.
My blogs are on addiction, so let me tell you this: If I was a kid in school today, dealing with the possibility of being murdered there, daydreaming during a class lecture what I would do if bullets started to fly, then numbing out with pot in the bathroom or a snort of heroin would become way more appealing. Addiction, when it expresses itself in an individual, always has a psychological trigger that pushes its pathology into presenting itself. Anxiety is one of the common triggers I see. Post-traumatic stress is another.
The stress our youths increasingly are made to deal with surely affect their minds.
Get the guns off the streets. Stop selling them. Politicians stop sucking at the NRA’s tits. It is a follow-the-money game hiding behind the Second Amendment.
Times change and constitutions need to change and keep up with modern times and realities. I believe our founding fathers would agree.
Max walks in the door from school. “Hey Buddy, how was school?”