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When will school shootings stop?

A personal essay from Parenting.com

By Ana Connery - Parenting.com

My son’s principal just sent an email asking parents to come get our kids—and exactly where to find them, as soon as dismissal time arrives in 45 minutes. Only two doors to the school are open now. She mentions scary things like “copycat crimes” in the wake of this morning’s horrific shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. Considering the similar mall shooting in Oregon earlier this week, the news is particularly unsettling, if not downright terrifying. 

Photo: Cloe Poisson/Hartford Courant/MCT via Getty ImagesMy son, Jav, is 7, the same age as many of the kids who were killed just hours ago. Like Jav, I am sure those kids love superheroes, too, and Disney Junior, and coveted their Wii, DS, Barbie or whatever object of affection they had at the moment they took their last terrified breath. I am sure that, like Jav, they, too, were waiting for Santa, perhaps many of them already sent him letters detailing their wish lists. Santa will now be forced to skip their home, and those letters will go unanswered, and in my mind, there is no seemingly good reason for this.

Details are still emerging as to who did this and why. Guns have been recovered. The age-old debate in America will make the rounds again. Some will emphatically defend their right to protect themselves and their families. Others will explain, just as emphatically, why they are opposed.

Whatever you believe, who protects our kids when they’re in the middle of math class or at the mall, shopping with Grandma? Are we all supposed to start carrying around guns everywhere, just in case? Are we supposed to teach our kids how to use one, the way we teach them to use an Epi-Pen, and send them off to school with one in their backpack? Ridiculous, right? But so is getting an automated voicemail from your school’s superintendent saying there has been a shooting at your child’s school. So is walking into a school with one and killing close to 30 people, many of them far from old enough even to have a Facebook account.

My boyfriend has a gun. He insists it remains tucked away on a shelf, too high for the kids to reach it, unloaded, and locked. It haunts me when we visit him. We never talk about it, but I know it’s there. I was a kid once, too. I was curious, careless--it’s part of growing up. Unfortunately that kind of curiosity can lead to death. I don’t want my kid to end up on the news.

When I drive to Jav’s school in a few moments, my drive will be far different from those parents who drove there just this morning only to learn their child was murdered. I will pray. I will cry. I will hug my kid and take him for that cupcake I promised him for getting a great grade on his math test this week. But my mind will be cloudy, confused, scared.

Of all the things that parenthood teaches us, how to deal with a tragedy like this rarely comes up. For a slew of parents today, the lesson will be forced upon them, and my heart breaks for them.

Photo: Cloe Poisson/Hartford Courant/MCT via Getty Images

More from Parenting and MSN Living:

How to talk to your kids about scary news


Dec 15, 2012 4:31PM

We need to focus on mental issues and stop the drivel about guns, pro or con.  We have the misconception that any person with serous mental issues as to voluntarily seek help.  But they generally do not see that, believeing their problems are someone else's fault or that they have no problems. No agency or doctor will listen to what a family member has to say.  It is the old "Privacy" crap that gets in the way.  Therefore, someone who needs help does not get it.  It is happening in my extended family daily so I know what I am talking about.  We cannot get anyone to even talk to us.


I also have to wonder why a mother of two sons and a kindergarten teacher would purchase multiple hand guns and an assault rifle.  I hope this comes out in the investigation.

Dec 15, 2012 4:31PM

I remember a time when crazy people didn't go into building and see how many people they could kill. We watched Gunsmoke, Andy Griffith, John Wayne, and other good guys on TV. This was before the days of the wild movies like we have now, MTV, rap, video games, and back then the majority of children were raised by two parents.

There were no gun free zones. We lived in a farming community where crows, groundhogs and other varmints damaged crops so I had one in my car a lot of days at school and my teachers knew it. Some of them did too. Never was a problem.

I don't know what the answer is but for sure, people have changed. I only wish I had been there with my 45 when the shooting started. I hit what I aim at and will not fire until I have a clear target. I would probably be in jail this morning but for sure, there would have been a lot less killing. Christmas will never be the same for those poor parents.

Dec 15, 2012 4:25PM
The NRA is guilty as an accomplice to the killing of those children. I have a challenge for this terrible organization: Use every damn cent of the dues you collect to place an armed police office at every elementary, middle, high school and college across this nation to prevent this repeated crime of happening again. If you do not, you should be classified as a terrorist organization and eliminated. The NRA and Republicans' are both parties to this terrible crime.
Dec 15, 2012 4:18PM
Do we blame the car when a Drunk driver causes a major pileup on a freeway. To many troubled individuals are on the streets because Liberal judges in our court system are worried about THEIR RIGHTS. We don't  have enough mental institutions to put these people away where they belong. The boys mother is to blame because she didn't have HER GUNS locked up where he couldn't get to them. I have no problem individuals in my home and mine are still locked in a safe. This mother paid the ultimate price for her stupidity. Unfortunately so did a lot of innocent others. God be with them and their loved ones. Maybe our focus should be on helping the people like this we can and locking those we can't away.
Dec 15, 2012 4:11PM

My heart felt prayers go out to the shoppers, merchants, students, parents, teachers and administrators at the scene of these horrible incidents.
But make no mistake; the direction this nation and our elected officials are what caused this. They have engineered the perfect atmosphere for more to come.
As we are slammed with major TV talking heads competing with each other to get the “herd to panic” at the report of mass slayings, we must ask ourselves how we were maneuvered into this position of becoming so dependent upon the government for protection.
Did you notice how amazing all the flashing lights were when government responded with all types of command vehicles, law enforcement vans, SWAT teams, fancy patrol cars and SUVs, uniformed patrol officers armed to the teeth, tents, generators, psychologists, cameras, chalk, flares, light stands, podiums complete with spokespersons in their dress uniforms? They will speak in glorious terms as to how quickly they drove there, how many cars were sent, how many brave officers searched the complete school and how secure the facility is ......... now.
All after the fact. Not one of these resources was there when it was needed.
It all appeared afterward. I know, I used to do this for a living.
Control freaks, professional politicians, anti-self reliance idiots and government entitlement specialists have been pressuring, legislating and pushing the average citizen to relinquish their safety, liberty and personal responsibility to the “government”. We see the “government’ move from forcing themselves into our retirement (social security) our education (No Child Left Behind – no administrator underpaid), and our health care (Obama care and control) and failing every step of the way.
As these type of crime become more frequent, citizens will relinquish liberty and accept gun control laws, magazine capacity limits, firearm type prohibitions and other government regulation over their lives. The citizen becomes less self responsible for their finances, their housing configuration, their safety, their security and they gladly sell these rights back to the government – the same government that cannot point to one single management success story in money matters, safety, health care or even mail delivery.
Our president feigns grief and a tear in front of TV cameras while calling for more strict laws to punish the self reliant. He will do NOTHING to assure the future safety of children in the next school to be attacked. He will spend our tax dollars on more fancy cars, command centers, flashing lights, generators, lights and other shiny things that will arrive AFTER the next shooting.
It is easier to punish the herd than to hold the lunatics accountable and punish them based upon their criminal history.
These issues will be the basis for a call for “more control” and “more safety” by the sheep who refuse to be self reliant. They will say “please – take more of my rights away from me and my family”.
Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Stop the insanity. Until citizens realize they are the ONLY ones who can be responsible for their own and their family’s safety at all times nothing will change. Allow, encourage and promote responsible, non-criminal citizens to be allowed to carry concealed firearms for their own protection. Push responsibility back where it belongs. Stop blathering about “the safety of the children” in empty, ineffective rhetoric and start making common sense self defense rules across this nation.
Israel is the example. Teachers in schools are armed. Moms and Dads picking up and dropping off their kids are armed. The presence of armed, responsible adults with the proper attitude is the medicine against insane gunmen who wish to harm the children.
Until we change, it will only get worse.

Dec 15, 2012 4:03PM

There will always be guns and other weapons available even if banned or made illegal if you want it bad enough.  There will always be people that in a moments notice go off the deep end and do something horrible like this.  There needs to be more and better safety training in our schools and schools are way too unsecure.  I have three kids in school right now and on any given day, I can go to the elementary, middle and high school and walk right in.  Now, I know I'm supposed to go into the front office and sign in and then go to the classroom, but If I wanted to, I could just waltz right into the classroom.  This is a problem!

Schools need to possible be built with a front area and the classrooms behind locked doors with only the faculty or school staff with soem sort of card or key.  This would at least help.  The office could even be made secure with a locked door and you deal with signing in through some sort of Computer and then once you're determined to be who you say you are and you have a right to visit, then be escorted to where you're going with maybe a school security officer.  You wouldn't get into a major corporate headquarters without doing something like this and our children's safety are worth way more than some propriortery secret! Just my thoughts and I hope they rebuild this school like McDonald's did years ago when they experienced a masacre in California in one of their restaurants.  This might help these children that have to return to that school at least maybe forget a little!

Dec 15, 2012 4:02PM
states cut back most on people in need because people in need are most of the state's budget. imagine if the taxpayer, for once, could use that money on infrastructure and job growth instead. money that produces a return on investment.
Dec 15, 2012 4:02PM

What about in China with that crazy guy that is going around slashing school children with a knife? A KNIFE! Trust me, they will find a way to do it with or without a gun. We need armed people ready to take them out to minimize the damage they do and the lives they are able to take. if someone would heve been in the building with a gun, they could have taken out that piece of crap while he reloaded to kill more of those kids.

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