An incident at school Wednesday, followed by a flurry of confusing text messages from my son, had me texting him this question:
“Are you in lockdown?”
I didn’t ask this frivolously. It was the only way I could think of to interpret the incoming messages. The only way I could figure out whether the incident he was describing occurred off school grounds or was happening in real time. And to determine whether he was in danger.
The magnitude of that exchange did not hit me until the next morning. This is where we are, folks. A place and time where I can text my child this question as a matter of course.
This is where we are.
Never in my life did I believe I would accept something so scary, so chilling, as a commonplace question. A practical means to an end.
Our kids are under siege. What the hell are we going to do about it?
As parents we suffer so many anxieties, worries, frustrations and fears. But that our kids will be shot in a school, mall or church? At a concert or movie? Seriously? That is not sane.
This isn’t a war-torn country. We don’t live in Somalia or Syria or Afghanistan. This is the United States of America. A country I still believe to be the greatest in the world. But a great country protects its future and we are not doing that. Why have we come so far and fought so hard if we’re willing to sacrifice our children to outdated and dangerous ideals?
I don’t have all the answer and I don’t believe this problem can be completely solved with stricter gun laws. But your gun vs. my kid? I don’t even have to draw a breath to respond to that one.
This is the real world where many of us live and I want you to see it and hear it. To think about the kid, my kid, who got THAT text and had to answer THAT question. To his mom. In the middle of his school day. And I want you to realize it could easily be yours tomorrow or next week or next month.
Lockdown isn’t normal. Active shooter drills aren’t normal. None of this is normal.
Please, oh God, please – don’t let this be the new normal.