There was another horrible school shooting yesterday. I can't believe I'm even typing those words right now..
Yesterday, a 19-yr old former student killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which is about 30 minutes north of Fort Lauderdale. It's one of the ten deadliest mass shootings in US history.
The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, a former JROTC member, had been expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons according to the police. His social media history is, quote, "very, very disturbing." Described by former classmates as a "loner", he often posted about guns and violence and talked about killing people with an AR-15 assault rifle, which is exactly what he used yesterday. Cruz pulled a fire alarm to draw kids out of class towards the end of the day to intentionally make the death toll as high as possible. Many students did not see the alarm sounding as anything out of the ordinary, as there had already been a fire alarm earlier in the day. The shooters motive is unclear right now, and both of his adoptive parents have passed. I'm sure more details will emerge as the investigation continues, but for now, it looks like a very disturbed human committed a very serious and senseless act to which none of us will be able to comprehend for ages.
Now, you have the facts. Facts are everywhere. The questions are what's hard.
How do I explain what's happening (again) to my 10 year old? I feel like i just had the conversation with her about the tragedy at the Route 91 festival in Las Vegas. She is still struggling with the thought of something happening to her at a gathering where we are all supposed to be having fun and sharing our love for something. (side note: mommy works in radio..."will this happen to you mommy?") Now, I have to answer the question, "mommy what if this happens at my school?'.
I haven't had the talk with her about Sandy Hook. I'd been avoiding it because although it was a completely horrific event, I never seemed to find the answers to many questions surrounding that day, and I refuse to half-way inform/console her about an event that I don't completely understand. Maybe now is the time to talk to her about it. Maybe now is the time to have those PTO meetings that aren't about "Fun Runs" or "Chocolate Sales".
It breaks my heart to think that at 10 years old, my biggest concern at school was who would be on my kickball team during PE and hers will be, "will someone shoot all of my classmates?".
How do we move forward? How do we protect not only our children's lives, but their innocence?
My blood boils thinking about this tragedy. I'm sad for the parents, families, friends, staff, community and our country. I'm angry that another idiot has taken lives. I'm angry that our children are having to grow up too quickly.
How do we turn our anger into solution? How do take our pain and use it for healing?
The song below was initally associated with the OKC Bombing, but if you listen to the lyrics closely, it applies. We cannot let the world change us. We must love and have mercy.
"As long as one heart still holds on, the hope is never really gone." - Garth Brooks