Even though my prayers are with the innocent victims and their families of those who were shot in yesterday’s school shooting in Colorado, much more needs to be done to protect our children. Very sadly, one of the victims died.
My children attend school approximately 10 minutes from STEM School Highlands Ranch where the shootings occurred. They have friends that attend this school. It was hard to wait to get to my children yesterday because all Highlands Ranch schools were on a Lock Out, and STEM was on a Lock Down. I can’t imagine what was going through the minds of children and parents at the STEM school who were waiting to reconnect. This tragedy comes less than three weeks when the same area of schools was shut down because of a threat on 4/17 when Sol Pais took her life after being a threat to children in Denver area schools. And, less than two weeks, on 4/25, when there was a possible threat to Broomfield High School. The community was also memorializing loved ones who were killed 20 years ago at Columbine High school on 4/20.
As a mother, my first instinct was to keep my children home from school today out of fear of what could happen next. They didn’t want to go, understandably; as I know many children didn’t want to attend school today or didn’t attend. My second thought was, let’s just move! My third thought, how do we help stop this from happening? We need preventative programs, educating our children, teaching empathy, compassion, and inclusion where it is severely lacking, respect for diversity, and a call for unity.
Here in the USA, our country continually debates gun control. After all the innocent lives that have been taken, not just here in Colorado, but, across the country, there needs to be gun control. If there were a waiting period, it may have stopped Sol Pais from threatening innocent children and then taking her own life. Back ground checks need to be monitored more closely and more effective as we know, she did have a background check and passed. I am not against owning a gun; I own guns, but, I have them locked up away from my children. I grew up with a single mother who used a gun to keep my sister and me safe when I was a child, so I get it. The priority is keeping our children safe and that means gun control.
Guns are not the only issue here; mental health is another very big issue. Many shooters in the past had been bullied and viewed as an outcast. I’m not defending any shooter; I’m making a point that bullying definitely affects peoples’ lives and their mental health. Unfortunately, some retaliate by taking innocent lives. I would like to see a support system and program that helps prevent bullying and outcasting where all children feel included and heard instead of marginalized. We need to keep our children safe and that means gun control and mental health.