I knew we were hopeless as a country when I was an elementary principal and the school shooting at Sandyhook Elementary became cemented in my memory, December 14, 2012.
We didn’t do anything about reasonable gun controls after 20 first-graders and six caring adults were murdered. I was angry, devastated, and emotionally drained. I don’t remember TV coverage because I couldn’t watch. I read newspapers, but I couldn’t handle watching. I knew it could have been me. I absolutely would have put myself in harm’s way to protect my students. The people I’ve worked with education over the years would say too.
Working In The Classroom During a School Shooting Era
When I retired in 2020, the school district where I worked did monthly staff training drills about how we’d handle an active shooter—learning that there aren’t right or wrong choices. Every situation has different variables.
The last school I worked in in 2020 was about 30 minutes from Oxford, Michigan. I’ve been feeling that anger and devastation again tonight. You’d think maybe I’d be numb to it by now, but thoughts and prayers aren’t going to help one damn bit for the families who lost teenagers today or those that have been wounded.
Some interesting facts about mass school shootings: “Sporadic school shootings have occurred at various points in the history of the US. No similar mass shootings occurred in the 1950s and 1960s. However, school shootings have been steadily increasing since 1979. Overall, the death toll from mass school shootings was 12 in the 1980s and 36 in the 1990s.”
“More people have died or been injured in mass school shootings in the United States in the past 18 years than in the entire 20th century. “ Read that again and let it sink in.
The NRA Has Changed – From Education in the 1970s to Mass Marketing of Fear Today
It’s interesting to note that the NRA became political starting in the 1970s. Previously the NRA focused on promoting marksmanship and gun ownership education.
Do you know what I do remember? I remember the fear drums pounding on TV and Social Media after every school shooting or societal shooting (church, mall, movie theater, grocery store, etc.) and the gun manufacturers, the ammunition, and all the gun paraphernalia sales go through the roof.
I am not anti-gun. We have guns, and all of my kids learned to shoot and respect how you use a weapon.
Some States Have a History of Doing It Right With Gun Ownership
I think it’s interesting that rural states like Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, etc., don’t have the mass shootings like other states. Many of those communities teach their children to respect guns, and a gun is a tool to protect themselves from the environment or provide food for the family. The reality is that the majority of Americans believe in common-sense gun reforms.
If we had a government filled with enough politicians who dared to do what is best for this country over their re-elections, then maybe we could come up with reasonable compromises that would help prevent the gun culture that is killing our citizens.
I don’t know if we have the will or a long enough memory to vote for politicians who dare to stand up and protect us.
About The Author
Melissa Hardy is a retired educator with 35 years of experience in the field. Melissa has held positions as a teacher, a library media specialist, and an elementary school principal. She is currently an entrepreneur in Bradenton, Florida.