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There was yet another school
shooting at a high school near Seattle, Wash., recently. A 15-year old freshman directed his rampage
toward friends and family members, approaching the table of students from
behind while they ate lunch in the cafeteria.
Two of the victims died and three remain in critical or
serious condition. The shooter died of
self-inflicted gunshot wounds after a teacher intervened to stop the
This was not a random act of
violence. This was planned.
Although he used a .40 caliber Baretta handgun to attack his
unsuspecting victims on Friday, the shooter recently received a hunting rifle
for a birthday gift. Clearly this is a
child who was raised around and had access to, guns.
Are you ready for the startling list of school shootings in
the United States since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012? According to EVERYTOWN for Gun
Safety, there have been 87 school shootings since Sandy Hook. Incidents were classified as school shootings, when a firearm was discharged in a school building or on school grounds whether or not there were fatalities.
Meanwhile, a Nebraska school district changed its policy to
allow seniors to pose with guns in their senior portraits, as long as the
portraits are “tasteful and appropriate.” Leaning on the fact that they are a small, rural community, where hunting
and other shooting sports are popular, the school board felt that posing with
rifles is really no different than posing with a basketball or in a tutu.
Last I checked, basketballs and tutus don’t accidentally (or
intentionally) kill people. An angry
ballerina might use some words she will later regret in the heat of the moment,
but she can’t take her tutu on a school-wide shooting spree should she, I don’t
know, break up with her boyfriend or get in an argument with her best friend.
I’m not a fan of guns in general, and I’m really not a fan
of school shootings. I love that I live
in a small town where the police force is strong and drives by the schools
several times a day, but I hate that
nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach when I leave my kids at school each
day. Will they know to hide in a small
space if something terrible happens? Will they keep quiet and make themselves small to avoid being seen? Will they freeze up right in a wide-open
As long as we continue to glorify guns in this country and
put guns in the hands of teens and other people who aren’t ready for the
responsibility of something so lethal and powerful, our children will never
truly be safe.
Glorifying guns in senior portraits sends a very mixed message. Rifles are not the same as basketballs, dance shoes or paintbrushes.
Schools craft safety plans and practice lockdown drills to
teach the kids how to respond in an emergency, but will those plans actually
work? When a teen casually walks into a
school cafeteria and fires off six shots to his friends and family members
eating lunch, can we continue to pretend that we have any control over the gun
violence that continues to take our children from us?
Hunting is a sport in this country. While I come from a “let the animals live”
perspective, I can understand that a sport is a sport. We are all different, and we all have
different interests and hobbies. But sports include rules, instruction and guidance.
brain is an impulsive one at times. The teen brain doesn’t always make the best
decisions, particularly when upset, under stress or under perceived
attack. Long story short, teens don’t
always make the best decisions.
Glorifying guns in senior portraits sends a very mixed
message. Rifles are not the same as
basketballs, dance shoes or paintbrushes. Yes, rifles can be used for sport, but they can also inflict serious and
sometimes fatal harm on upon others. Rifles can kill.
Teens crave responsibility and independence. They are constantly working toward
individuation as they prepare to fend for themselves. A great lesson in responsibility for teens
with an interest in hunting is that gun safety is serious and
non-negotiable. They should be kept
unloaded and locked up when not in use to prevent accidental discharge.
Keep the guns out of the pictures. That’s a lesson in gun