When I was 6 years old, I lived with my mom and step-dad in Garland, Tx on Curtis Street. My step-dad kept a gun tucked away in the house somewhere. I assume it was for protection because he was not a hunter or a rugged cowboy. Rather, he was a repair man for Sylvania Electronics. One night on Curtis Street, I watched my mom chase my stepdad down our street, waving that loaded gun and threatening to kill him. He was running away and she was running after him. I stood outside barefoot and watched until they disappeared down the street. Scared, I ran to the next door neighbors house. I'd never met our neighbors but I felt their house would be safer than mine. My mom's behavior was always unpredictable and always frightening. I just didn't want to be left alone with my mom when she made her way back to our house.
While my step-dad kept that gun in our home for safety and security. That night, the gun fell into the wrong hands. A person diagnosed with mental illness. I've shared about my mom's mental illness previously. The reason I write about this today is because of the details from the latest school shooting across the airwaves currently. Unfortunately, it will soon outrun it's airtime as the nation moves on to the next disaster or crisis.
This map of the United States represents total school shootings since 2013. The white dot represents the most current tragedy in Parkland, Florida. The high school where 14 kids went to school on Wednesday, Feb 14th and consequently lost their lives. Full Stop. Those kids were supposed to go home after their school clubs & activities. Those kids were supposed to eat dinner with their families. Those kids had homework to finish. Those kids had chores to help out with. Those kids were supposed to get ready for the next day at school. Those kids had LIVES that they were LIVING. And those lives came to an abrupt and unjust end. For the Kids, the parents, the brothers & sisters, the Aunts, Uncles & Cousins, for the best friends..nothing will ever be the same again. For the survivors that were injured, the same outcome holds true. Nothing will ever be the same again. They experienced automatic weapon cross-fire. Please understand the gravity of what I just wrote, please. KIDS EXPERIENCED automatic weapon cross-fire at SCHOOL.
How are these children going to handle that experience? What about ALL of the children represented in the near 300 school shootings from the last 5 years represented by the map above? How many total children will have had a school shooting experience under their belt? And how will they handle it? What I can say for certain is many of these kids will experience anxiety, triggered by post traumatic stress or depression or paralyzing fear or a multitude of other issues. How do I know that for certain? Because no-one was shot that night on Curtis Street but I still remember it in vivid detail even though it happened 40 years ago. Make no mistake, children suffer the consequences - but thank God, children are also extremely resilient.
Case in point. This April 20th will mark the 19 year anniversary of Columbine and high school students across the nation will be participating in a National School Walkout to bring attention gun control, gun legislation, gun reform; whichever term suits you. The National School Walkout is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. in every time zone and last for 17 minutes -- one for each victim who lost their lives during the school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Also, please listen to this message from Cameron Kasky, a survivor from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, announcing the March for Our Lives on March 24th.
It should come as no surprise that the women of this nation will be marching on March 14th, exactly one month after Parkland, FL to support and keep the momentum for these children and kids.
So make a note of these 3 important dates.
All of the marches share one mission: to put pressure on Congress to pass gun reform and make schools safer. I'm so proud of these kids already and want to do anything I can to support them, to let them know I see and hear them, that I stand with them.
I just finished reading (for the second time) Nish Weiseth's book 'Speak'. In it she wrote "The God of Christianity is a God who loves justice. And if we say we follow this God, if we say we believe in Him, then we also become agents of justice." So here is to becoming an agent of justice. I suppose those who work towards this pursuit, become an Agency of Justice in a way. That suits me fine because personally I'm tired of feeling powerless and helpless while tragedy after tragedy takes place in this world. Doing something is definitely better than doing nothing. If you feel the same, here are some resources to help get started:
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
March for our Lives:
Every Town for Gun Safety & United States Map Source: