Another Elementary School. Another Shooter

Image

Image

There was a gunman at McNair Discovery Learning Academy in Dekalb County Georgia. Shots were fired. Nobody was hurt.

I watched it play out on the news. They showed hundred of children running out of the back of the building, dressed in khaki pants with red or white shirts. They looked so small.

They congealed near the back fence. It is as far as they could get from the building without crossing a street and going into the neighboring subdivisions. From the vantage point of the news helicopter I watched a child turn cartwheels. He didn’t know what was going on. All he knew was that they weren’t in school. Almost always reason to celebrate when you are seven or eight years old.

Some children clustered around the police. By then there were dozens on the scene. Most of them were inside sweeping the building to make sure the man with the gun had been alone. Two or three were outside, perhaps comforting the kids, perhaps interviewing them.

My step son went to that school last year. Wore those uniforms. Played in that field. He would have been there today, had we not moved. Instead he’s miles away, absolutely oblivious to what some of his old friends are going through right now.

We have three children in school. Shootings like this are amongst the things that I don’t let myself think about. It’s isolated, right? That stuff never happens here; it’s always a few states away, happening to someone else’s children. Only sometimes it’s miles, not states. And sometimes, for some people, it’s here.

I have called myself pro gun. I own a firearm. I believe that it is my duty to protect my house, and this is one tool for doing so. I say this without a hint of bravado or romance. It is also not up for debate.

But the gun laws aren’t making me feel safe right now. I don’t know that things like this can be legislated away. Probably not. But we have a problem with gun culture and it’s not going away. We all know Sandy Hook, but how many go down more like the one that happened today, at the McNair Discovery Learning Academy. Nobody hurt, so easily forgotten. Last year there was a shooting at a Middle School. Nobody hurt. I can’t even remember the name of the place, just that it was near us here on the outskirts of Atlanta.

Two years ago we moved from Philadelphia, leaving behind a district that was apparently on the verge of collapse. Six months ago we moved again to find better schools, not knowing that we were literally dodging a bullet. I don’t have any answers. I just know that we can’t count on moving away from every threat.

My heart goes out to the parents of the kids at McNair, and the teachers, and the administrators and staff. Thank god you’re all okay.

5 thoughts on “Another Elementary School. Another Shooter

    • At the time I wrote that post I thought the guy might be some home spun loonytoon. You know, a drunk with an old 38. I guess I was kidding myself. He had multiple weapons including an AK47 assault rifle. And although it looked as if the kids were hanging out by the fence, the police had actually cut a hole in the back of a nearby house so that the children could be escorted off site without being led through the line of fire. I am going to write about it tomorrow, just because I don’t want to seem like I made light of the situation. There were a lot of heroes there. This one could have easily turned into a tragedy.

    • You and I both know that there is never a shortage of reasons to lock your kids in a room, post guard dogs at the doors and turn off the lights.
      I found out this morning how close this thing got to being a massacre. Another mentally ill person with an arsenal,looking to make his final showdown. An administrator de-escelated the situation, risking her life to keep him from the kids.
      I’m not going to say that we need more women like her- heroism is not a thing that is in short supply in our schools- but she accomplished a lot with cool talk and an open heart. In this case, wits won out over bullets.

  1. I don’t know how you guys do it, over there. And by the same token, it’s not like you can hide your children away in your house and never let them go outside.

    School shootings will continue to happen over and over. I actually thought that Sandy Hook might have been the straw to break the camel’s back, but obviously not. I’d like to think that there will be some point at which enough people will say, “ENOUGH!” but I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen. The thought is so depressing, I can’t think about it.

    • Our children are expendable. I’m not saying that just because of the school shootings. They seem to be relatively isolated.
      I’m talking about the school closures and how funding tends to disappear. Our teachers are micro-managed; often by people who lack any sort of educational background. Things like the arts are going extinct here in the public school system.
      We have a whole lot of reasons to shout Enough! It’s overwhelming.