“Can you tell me how… Can you tell me how you got up?” These are the anguished words of Jilli Spencer, a survivor of the November 14 shooting at her Santa Clarita, CA, high school. “It was finally us,” she says. We heard similar expressions combining disbelief with resigned acceptance at other schools? But is this normal?
In the 46 months of this year, according a CNN report, there have been 44 school shootings. Of these, 32 have been at schools serving students from kindergarten through grade 12. Enough. Last year, Time magazine used this powerful word to honor the efforts of five students who survived the Parkland tragedy. They fought – and continue to fight – to prevent other children and parents having to endure their ordeal. Just this August, Time used the word… again.
The two victims – a girl, 15, and a boy, 14 – were not just people of tomorrow, they were people today. People magazine told the stories of Gracie and Dominic – and those who love them. Let us always remember the names of Gracie Meuhlberger and Dominic Blackwell.
Outside, it was a beautiful, sunny, and crisp day. Inside the school in which I was working, an dark announcement came over the school public-address system. “The shooter is in the G wing. He’s wearing a clown mask….” It was just a drill. Just a drill? is this now a normal part of the school day, like pledging allegiance to the flag or eating revolting food in the cafeteria? Sandy Hook Promise brought this point home in a searing PSA this September. Caution: Some readers may find the contents disturbing.
I love you, Mom.