In the Age of Lockdowns

Today there was a shooting at a school a few miles away from mine. One student died.

One parent said: the shooting illustrates the reality that students have to face in an era where school shootings dominate national headlines several times a year.

One of my close childhood friends (with whom I share my name) lived right next to Sandy Hook Elementary. My best friend went to Marjory Stoneman Douglas Middle School right next door to its sister high school and was in lockdown as across the parking lot became the site of the Parkland shooting. My friend was on the same baseball team as a victim of the Santa Fe school shooting who came to their baseball game with a scar on his neck from where a bullet entered and exited his neck.

But regardless of our personal connections, we all know these children.

They are our kin. They are our own. They are us.

They are teenagers with attitude who are worried about what to wear to Friday’s party. They are teenagers who aren’t sure if they said “I love you” when Mom dropped them off because it may be the last time they say it. They are teenagers who wear sneakers to Friday’s party because they don’t know when they may need to run.

My school has lockdown practices every week. This year we shrunk part of the fine arts budget to purchase heavy duty doorstops advertised for stopping active shooters. My former algebra teacher left once a month to be part of a District Safety Committee.

This has became part of our culture. Learning comes hand in hand with fear.

And that is not okay. Growing up should be about going to friend’s houses, not friend’s virgils. Lockdowns shouldn’t be something we practice.

So when people complain that children shouldn’t be involved in politics my response is:

It’s not a choice. This has become our life. This was never about politics for us. It was never about being a Republican or Democrat. It is about being alive. How many need to die until enough is enough?

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