This is one of my elementary school class pictures. Those who know me can probably pick
pick me out of the group within seconds, especially if they were also in this photo.
However this is not about me or my friends.
Because we are blessed to look at these photos as adults and tag each other on social
media sites, have a good laugh and threaten those who post pictures of our childhood.
As kids, our worries were what lessons did we have to do. What was for lunch? When
does the recess bell ring?
When we had drills, we only had to know two important drills; for a fire drill,at the
sound of the alarm, we formed a single file, hands to our sides and walked quickly and
quietly down the halls and to the nearest exits to the school yard and wait for the
intercom to crackle and a voice tell teachers to escort us back to class. When there
was a tornado drill, we single filed to the hallways, line against the wall, face the
walls, get in a kneeling position with our arms folded on top our heads with our heads
We did not know how the latter would help, but we followed instructions and went on
our way after the drill was over. While guns and mental illnesses existed even back
then, we were in a way, shielded from those dangers, being in what was the comfort
of adults who made sure we did our school work, got our snacks, naps and anything
else on our schedules. We dealt with bullying, pledged allegiance to the American
flag, said prayers and went on with life as kids.
In my recollection the biggest thing that happened in the elementary school was a
peer taken to the principal's office because she had a butcher knife in her book bag.
Why? Because she was being bullied so much that she was told to bring the knife to
school and deal with it.
Otherwise, we were protected, so to speak from the dangers that lurked around us.
'Officer Friendly' reminded us of stranger danger with every visit. Our neighbors
watched over us to make sure we did not do stupid stuff or get in a dangerous
situation. We,as kids, had nothing to worry about.
How the decades after our childhoods changed.
In the last 30 years we as a nation have gone through many tragedies from natural
disasters to terrorism. Not just terrorism from international sources...terrorism
on these United States. When massive shootings began with 'going postal' we wondered
what could be wrong with a person who would just snap and shoot people down in the
workplace? What was going on in their heads? Workplace shootings, campus shootings
high school massacres involving adults and youths at the hands of the arsenal; what
are you going through that would drive you to do such evil?
Now there's been movie theater massacres and most recently a massacre against
children. Babies in Newtown, Conn. 20 children ages 5-10 years old...dead at the
hands of a twenty-something male. Children who had nothing to do with what you were
going through. Your anger. Your disgust. Your demons.
They've done nothing but get dressed, eat their breakfast, get in their parents'
car or get on the school bus to take them to a class where all they need to do,
is learn their ABC's, 1,2,3. Get their work books or in some cases for the older
kids, turn on the computers. Academic curriculum may have changed since we've sat
inside an elementary classroom but the standard should remain the same and that is
to go to school, learn something, have fun, eat a snack, eat lunch, then go home.
But the world does not like the standard. We live in a world where guns are an
attachment to our physical being and our mental instability remains ignored.
Mental illness has been a fabric stitched within the American flag, but to this day
we continue to patch it up, over and over again. We know there's a thread unraveling
but we wind that thread around our index finger and do a quick snap, making it a
quick fix instead of taking the material apart, finding the problem and do
something to make it better.
We have bullet holes within the patches but ignore them too. If the government does
not admit that there is an old, battered and beaten down problem in guns and mental
illness, the material of our nation will continue to be ugly.
Until GOD is truly fed up and wipes a clean slate.
We should be tired of the lumps under the rugs, the consistent patching and the blind
leading the blind.
What happened in Newton should be a signal to increase funding on mental health
issues of all levels. What happened today should be a signal to tell those who are
pro-gun that this shit has got to stop, period.
The children killed in Newton...children who are killed by gun violence on a daily
basis, should piss you off to call your government officials and demand for gun
control at the highest action taken. That funding goes toward educating people
about mental health issues and help those who cannot help themselves.
The children from today's tragedy lost the opportunities to realize the simple
pleasures of life...the chance to create memories. The chance to look at their
school pictures in later years and laugh freely.
No one should miss out on such fun.