Friday May 18–yet another school shooting. This time at Santa Fe High School in Texas. My immediate reaction was that I wanted to cry; cry holy tears for those ten individuals who went to school that day planning on returning home but they didn’t return home.
Any time there is a school shooting, I feel like I am a broken record. So often media jumps to the conclusion that the shooter is mentally ill. Now don’t get me wrong, that could very well be the case. But the reality is that the mentally ill are more often the victims of a violent crime then the perpetrator. And as the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness, I know this reality all too well. I have first hand experience of the stigma that comes with a mental illness.
The reality though is that my mom is able to live a normal life because of the medications she is on. She is one of the most faith-filled women in my life and would seriously give the clothes off of her back to someone in need. She embodies what it means to love and be loved in this broken world. Yet her illness comes with a stigma; a stigma that still carries with it the weight of every school shooting and violent crime despite what statistics tell us.
I have to be honest. I grew up in a house where my dad and grandpa hunted. Yet those guns were not easily accessible. In fact, they were kept far away from our reach. I have so many questions in regards to guns and gun violence. How are these students getting access to these guns? Why is someone not able to stop them?
I don’t know what the answer is to end all school shootings. But what I do know is that too many kids have gone to school hoping to come home and haven’t because another classmate showed up to school with a gun. Often times they come with a motive because they are hurting and are not in their own right mind. Yet with proper treatment and care, these individuals could, perhaps, live a normal life.
My hurt aches for all of my friends and family and their children. I fear for the days when I will have my own children and will send them off to school. It breaks my heart that our children know what to do in the case of a school shooting because they have had active shooter training at their own schools. I don’t want the names of the children I love or even the names of my sister and other teachers who dedicate their lives to teaching to be on the list of deceased at the next school shooting.
My heart aches friends and we must do something about it. I cannot hear the name of more individuals who lost their life at school. There are too many school shootings. There are too many who have given their lives simply by being in school when a shooting occurs. We remember the ten victims from the Sante Fe High School shooting: Glenda Perkins, Cynthia Tisdale, Kimberly Vaughan, Shana Fisher, Angelique Ramirez, Christian Riley Garcia, Jared Black, Sabika Sheikh, Christopher Jake Stone and Aaron Kyle McLeod.
My eyes are wet with tears; tears that ache for the day when our children will feel safe going to school again. Wet with tears as I lift up my prayers to God knowing these individuals are not alone in their final days. But also wet that they had to breathe their last before graduating high school or going home to their own families.
The words from Marty Haugen’s Holden Evening Prayer are the words that I seem to only be able to cry out in the midst of another school shooting. “Let our prayers rise up like incense before you, the lifting up of my hands as an offering to you. O God, I call to you, come to me now, hear my voice when I cry to you.”
I am broken.
I am tired.
Tired of sounding like a broken record.
When will the sounds of this broken record cease
Or will this record play over and over again until it is simply way too late?