I remember the day of the Sandy Hook shooting, the total silence through the classrooms when we heard the news. The whispered discussions asking whether others had seen what happened. The usually rambunctious bus instead somber on the way home. It was almost winter break; we should have been rejoicing in our soon-to-be-had freedom.
But most of all, I remember my mom. As soon as I got home, she grabbed me and hugged me and didn't let go. She just kept saying how much she loved me and that she needed to hold me. And she cried.
She said she held me like that because she could, because I was okay. The Sandy Hook shooting instilled terror within parents across the country, or at least within mine. My mom had been an early childhood special education teacher; I imagine she was thinking about her students, too.
I don't know that I had ever seen my mom as torn, as broken, as helpless in my life before that day. And I was okay. I was okay, and everyone I, and we, knew was okay. I cannot even begin to imagine what it was like for the parents of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I don't want to try to imagine what it was like for the family and friends of those we lost.
This week, it happened again. A young man acquired a gun--which, I may remind you, was literally designed to kill other living things--and then he took that gun to a school and he shot it. He shot it seemingly indiscriminately and savagely.
It wasn't six and seven-year-olds this time; it happened at a high school. Which, I guess, is supposed to make it somehow better or, at least, less bad. But that's not how I feel.
There are still parents who sent their kids off to school--a place that is supposed to be safe, a place where kids are supposed to be built up, a place of life--and now will never see them again.
There is no amount of thoughts and prayers--or, for that matter, legislation--that will be able to alleviate their pain or let them see their kid smile or hear them laugh or listen to them complain about chores ever again.
And, everywhere, parents are going to be holding their kids and hoping, praying, wishing, begging that they never have to feel that unfathomable pain or experience that unbelievable grief, that it's not their kid next time. Because there will definitely be a next time.
There will always be a next time because, though those thoughts and prayers will come in droves, that legislation will never materialize; nothing will ever change. It has been like this for decades and there is no reason to believe this high school and these victims will mean anything different.
Politicians either don't care or are too worried about their precious careers, too worried they'll be voted out for trying to stop more people from being senselessly killed each year. They're too worried because the NRA is too big to fail.
There were seventeen innocent lives lost in this week's shooting in Florida. These are the 17 congresspeople who have received the most money from the NRA. Call them, write them, email them, overwhelm them until something changes. Please.
In the Senate:
1. John McCain (R), Arizona
2. Richard Burr (R), North Carolina
3. Roy Blunt (R), Missouri
4. Thom Tillis (R), North Carolina
5. Cory Gardner (R), Colorado
6. Marco Rubio (R), Florida
7. Joni Ernst (R), Iowa
8. Rob Portman (R), Ohio
9. Todd Young (R), Indiana
10. Bill Cassidy (R), Louisiana
In the House:
1. French Hill (R), Arkansas
2. Ken Buck (R), Colorado
3. David Young (R), Iowa
4. Mike Simpson (R), Idaho
5. Greg Gianforte (R), Montana
6. Don Young (R), Alaska
7. Lloyd Smucker (R), Pennsylvania