Thoughts & Prayers … and Action

I hate this shit.

Another tragedy. Another outcry on Twitter for legislation reform. Another set of “thoughts and prayers.”

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

And one day, I’m going to have to talk to my kid about the new reality – she’s probably not safe at her school. Not like

I was as a kid. These horrific occurrences weren’t a worry of mine when I was going through elementary, middle, or high school. It barely scraped my consciousness in college when Columbine happened – but at the time, that seemed like a one-time, rogue calamity.

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How do I explain to her that, despite all of our best efforts, you need to now accept this as a way of life?

How do I explain to her that when these active shooting drills happen at your school, you need to pay attention. You can’t screw around like many of us did during earthquake drills in elementary school, playing grabass under the desk with your friends.

Like the inevitable sex talk, it’s going to be awkward and serious, and I’m going to go to bed that night feeling weird about the conversation. Unlike the inevitable sex talk, it’s going to happen soon.

***

Yesterday when I picked my daughter up at school, I took a few moments to watch her play on the playground with her friends and teachers. And then my voice cut through the air.

Ella! We do NOT throw sand!

During the subsequent walk to the bus, we talked about doing the right thing and that she knew better than to throw sand. She cried. I stood firm. We have discussed this before.

That night, as the numbers from Florida ticked upwards, I talked to her once again. I explained that mommy and daddy get angry at her because we love her and want her to grow up and do the right things.

Deep inside, knowing that 17 families won’t completely ever gather together again, I wanted to just hug my kid. Sadly, how many hugs do all of us have left?

Morbid to think, right? Reality? Unfortunately.

I’m guessing here, but maybe Nikolas Cruz didn’t get scolded enough, didn’t get hugged enough, didn’t get in trouble for throwing sand. There are millions of miscreants that didn’t get scolded enough and set on the right track by firm parents.

***

I don’t want to get into any political debate, but I will say this: how is it even remotely OK to have assault rifles readily available for purchase? This is a war machine, not a hunting weapon. It is not even self-defense. It’s something you see in movies like Black Hawk Down or that druglords carry around in Breaking Bad.

This is not something people should just have access to.

Honestly, if 32 people dying at a college, and 20 second-graders dying, and 58 at a concert, and 14 at a movie theater, and 49 at a nightclub, and 14 at an office, and so on and so on hasn’t changed anything, then what makes us think that 17 more at a high school is going to change the minds of legislators?

As long as there is more money than fortitude in politics there won’t be any change.

It’s sickening.

***

I’m going to keep teaching my kid right from wrong – and how to grow up and be a good member of society.

I’ll hope my disciplining helps her make the right decisions; then I will pray that she is never in a situation like this. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s all you can do – even if she is in school, or goes to a movie, or to work, or to a concert, or to a nightclub.

And when I’m done disciplining her, I’ll continue explaining to her it’s because I love her. And then I’ll give her a hug. It’s how we usually do it.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

 

 

 

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2 comments

  1. Very well said Matt. It is so troubling. I have said for years that the disintegration of the family unit along with undiagnosed/untreated mental health issues is the crux of this problem. Add the assault weapons on top of a really unstable person leads to disaster, over and over again. We need changes in this gun law, more focus on family and more awareness of mental health issues and the ability to provide treatment once someone is identified as having issues. I pray we move these efforts forward. Hugs to your little girl.

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