guest post by Sydney L.
This is not okay.
We had a fire drill at school today. An unplanned fire drill. Everyone immediately freaked out. Whispers of “what if it’s a trick?” “Should I text my mom?” “What if I get shot?” Went through my classroom. We were genuinely terrified that we were going to die.
This is not okay.
My teachers first words were not telling us where our class goes during a fire drill. Her first words to us were “everyone let me look out the door first to be safe.”
This is not okay.
My first thought was not to exit the building. My first thought was fear of being killed. Of my baby sister being shot in the school across the parking lot. To text my parents and tell them I love them. I almost did. I had the chat open.
This is not okay.
Kids exiting the building were not rushing to get out. We were slow. Almost zombie-like. Terrified that there would be a shooter waiting for us outside. Teachers were telling us to stand behind them. My sophomore year science teacher and I shared a look of what I can only describe as fear.
This is not okay.
This cannot go on. I should not have to live in fear of exiting my school because I could be killed. Because it could be a trick. I shouldn’t have to make a split second decision about rescuing my sister or texting my parents. We have to do something. Raise the minimum age to buy firearms. Take automatic weapons off the market for citizens. Make extensive background checks a requirement to buy a firearm. I should not have to live in fear of going to school.
This is not okay.
Sydney is a strong opinionated high school student. Dogs, Girl Scouts and Taekwondo. That is who she is.
PSA: Abusive commenters will be deleted and banned, so kindly piss off in advance. (Comment Policy)
Today a teacher I follow on Facebook posted a letter she’d written to a local paper in response to a letter to the editor. The original letter from Rob Cobb, printed in the Nevada Appeal, in Carson City, NV, is in the image below. The paper wanted her to cut 250 words, so I helped her do that, and offered to print her letter in its entirety here.
Guest post by TvB
There are quite a few reasons why teachers shouldn’t carry guns in schools, all of which can be saved for another day and a different letter to the editor. I, however, write today to respond to Rob Cobb’s letter in which he states his reasons why teachers shouldn’t carry guns.
1. “Most teachers have never really functioned in the real world.”
Saying I’m offended by this comment is an understatement. What exactly is the “real world” Mr. Cobb? Teaching your children about a subject is just a small part of our job. How about the kids you send through our doors who we need to counsel and console because their parent beat them senseless the night before? How about the kid that can’t afford to eat because mom or dad is so strung out on drugs and spends the food money on getting high so that kid comes to school starving and so we give them food or money out of our own pocket to buy lunch? How about the student that wants to commit suicide because her parents don’t support her being gay? How about the student who’s been raised by gang members and has recently become a gang member also? You don’t think that this is “real world” for us? The real world, is something we try to CLEAN UP and make better for your children everyday. The real world is more real to us than it is for you who think we don’t “function in the real world.” I function highly in this world and I help your child function also.
2. “They went through school, maybe if their parents had money they went to Europe one summer to see the world. Then after college they got a job teaching, and have never worked or lived outside of a school.”
Many of us had different careers before we became teachers. For example, in my building alone, I work with former carpenters, construction workers, nurses, federal government workers, policemen, firefighters, and career military personnel. Are you implying that these former careers of many of our teachers don’t qualify as “real world?” Many of our teachers gave up lucrative careers to be with your kids, helping them understand what the real world actually is. We bring to the table a wealth of “real world” experience and hands-on knowledge to your children. Your comment is not only offensive, but downright ignorant.
As a teacher, I don’t want to carry a gun in school. But what I do possess in my weaponry are some things called, respect, love, knowledge, and common sense. These are the weapons I use to help teach your children how to function in the “real world.” I believe a lot of these “weapons” will go a lot farther than anything the bullets of a gun could ever instill upon the young minds of our children.
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In our inaugural “Dear Rosie” article, we’re taking on the oh-so-controversial topic of gun control in the U.S. People keep saying that talking about gun control right now amounts to “politicizing” the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. I call BS. When something bad happens people talk about how they feel about it and the circumstances surrounding it, and about solving the societal problems that caused it, and the only time you’re going to hear that accusation is when the accused has said something the accuser doesn’t agree with politically. Guess what? Some things are political issues, and they’re also life issues, and we’re going to talk about them, and we’re not going to agree all the time. So, without further ado, here’s your first Dear Rosie:
Why are you “gun control” nuts trying to take away my guns? Don’t you know that the 2nd amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees my right to bear arms? If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns! Guns don’t kill people–people kill people! What if we need to rise up against the government? If I had been at [insert horrific gun-related tragedy here] I would have used my gun to stop it! Also, I like to hunt. You probably want to take that away too, don’t you? Why do you hate FREEDOM??
Fictional Paranoid Gun-Owner
It might surprise you to learn that, dirty tree-hugging hippy though I am, I don’t necessarily think guns should be illegal. I mean, first of all, we do have that 2nd amendment thing to contend with, and no matter now long we argue, we’re not going to agree on whether the founders wanted us to have AK-47s. Once when I was working on a mystery novel, I went to a gun range and fired a Walther PP just so I’d know what it felt like. It was fun! And when I was a kid, I went out in a field and fired a big gun that used this ammo and nearly knocked me on my ass. That was less fun. But I understand that shooting is a sport, and it’s part of the culture in some parts of the country, and that some people like to hunt for sport and even in order to feed their families. And guns are a huge part of U.S. history. I don’t believe it’s realistic to expect that guns will be outlawed in this country. I think this poster makes a pretty good case (excerpt below; full post at Reddit):
“You seem like a fair minded person. You don’t like guns. I don’t like alcohol. If you can tell me one argument for banning guns that does not apply equally to banning alcohol, I’ll throw all my guns in the river tonight. Otherwise, we’ll just have to both agree that it’s a matter of personal choice and let each other be.”
“Guns kill people.” Response: Alcohol kills more people.
“Yeah, but guns are used in crime.” Response: So is alcohol. Aside from the obvious drunk driving and addiction related crimes, what % of people who commit crime do you think drunk? Ask a cop how many domestic violence situations involve alcohol.
“But guns are used in terrible murders. Alcohol only causes accidents or health-related deaths.” Response: This is an even stronger argument for banning alcohol. If you banned guns, at least some of those murders would still get committed. If you banned alcohol, NONE of the alcohol related accidental deaths would happen. (i.e. the definition of an accident is that its unintended, unlike murder).
“They tried to ban booze and it didn’t work.” Response: Try to ban guns in the USA. You see what happens. No country with hundreds of millions of firearms in circulation and porous borders has ever successfully banned guns (or anything for that matter: see war on drugs.)
“But drinking is fun and a social activity.” Response: Let’s go shooting on Saturday. Empty a few mags from an AK-47 and then tell me it’s not fun.
You can dice words and split hairs all day long, but as far as I can tell, most of what he says is dead on. Personally, I don’t get why people need to own assault weapons, but if you buy that we might need to form a militia and kick-ass on the government, I guess we’ve got to be able to compete. Fine. Here’s my thing: I say “gun control,” Fictional Paranoid Gun-Owner, and you hear “gun pried from my cold-dead fingers after I tried to shoot you for trying to take my gun but apparently you got off the first shot so I’m dead.” And I know a lot of very rich folks want to make sure people buy guns, and so they help make certain people feel like they’re going to need guns (and that their right to have them is under imminent threat). They watched their profits rise in response to 9/11 and they made damned sure in 2008 the message got out that gun rights would be history if Barack Obama became president. And in 2011 when Jared Lee Loughner shot Gabrielle Giffords, the cries filled the air: Hurry! Get your guns before the lefties change the laws! And now it’s election time again, and another mentally ill person with a stockpile of weapons has ripped a community apart, and guess what? Investors are already salivating.
So, what do I mean when I say “gun control”? I mean that guys like Loughner and Holmes who are clearly not competent to use guns responsibly should not be able to do this without raising a flag and inviting some scrutiny:
Suspected Aurora Shooter Amassed Huge Arsenal Online With No Background Checks
From Huffington Post:
“Authorities say all of Holmes’ purchases were legal — and there is no official system to track whether people are stockpiling vast amounts of firepower.”
We make laws to regulate other dangerous items and substances. Like alcohol. And cars! Which, while they’re not designed to kill people, do it all the time in the hands of irresponsible and unlucky people. So we make laws and we put the irresponsible ones in jail and we make ads about how people shouldn’t drive drunk, but heaven forbid we should say that maybe, possibly, a person ought to have a full background check to purchase a gun and that there ought to be systems in place that throw up red flags when any one person seems to be “amassing an arsenal” (because that’s not worrisome for any reason at all). I mean, shouldn’t the FBI spend some time, you know, observing that person to see whether they might be planning to murder a bunch of people with all those guns? You can’t even stock up on Sudafed anymore without a SWAT team showing up at your house, but guns are apparently not as dangerous as cold medicine. Come on, FPGO, I’m not saying that everyone who owns more than one gun is going to become a mass murderer, but at the point where you have to use the words “arsenal” or “stockpile” maybe we should just have a look, huh? Evaluate their mental state, perhaps? Just a thought. Oh, and while you’re fantasizing about what you would have done if you’d been in that audience carrying your legally concealed weapon, you might want to have a gander at this very intelligent article by a guy who knows more than most people about combat situations.
FPGO, if you take nothing else away from my response to your fictional letter, take this: “Gun control” doesn’t mean we want to take away your guns. Sure, some people are dead-set against them, but as I said, they’re fighting what is very likely a losing battle. Some of us, on the other hand, just want to know that there are laws and checks and balances to protect the public, and that includes better gun laws as well as taking a serious look the availability (or lack thereof) of mental health services. We should all be in favor of making the world a safer place.
I’ll leave you with this quote, which sums it up poignantly for me:
“Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I wish mental health care were as easy to get as, say, a gun.”
Me too, Andy. Me too.