Friday, March 2, 2012

I'm not OK!

“What would you do if a gun man came to your school and started shooting kids?” I asked my children.

“I’d hide behind the door,” my older son said.

“Do you think that all of your classmates could get behind the door with you?” I wondered aloud.

“I know, I’d jump out the window.” my younger son said.

“I hope you wouldn’t jump from the second floor,” I told him. “I think that I would tell everyone to push all of the desks and chairs in front of the door. And, I would tell someone to call the police on their cell phone.”

“Do you think you would ever go back to your school if something like Chardon happened at your school?” I asked

“Nope, no way!” They agreed.

Dear God! Do I really have to have this discussion with my 9 year old and my 14 year old?

Back in 2010 I wrote about living in the center of the DC sniper attacks. At that time I had one preschool child. Parents drove to the door of the preschool and the teachers would send one child out at a time at pick-up in the hope that only one parent and child would be vulnerable to attack. The school was completely locked down and there was no way to enter without the proper password.

When we moved to rural PA in 2007 it was less than a year after a gun man had killed Amish children at school only 38 miles from where we moved. To enter our little country elementary school, parents had to be buzzed in one at a time. Parents were not allowed to hold the door open for the parent behind them. Inside, they would have to present their license in the office. The license was scanned and checked by a security database before they could enter.

My children were too young then and oblivious to the reasons for these procedures. At that time, I kept the dark details to myself, but this time my children are completely aware. The news is all around them.

My eldest son was date/‘texting’ a girl with whom he had been in theatrical productions. She attends Chardon schools only 25 miles from where we live now. One of her friends was Daniel Parmertor, the boy who was first to die in this latest school shooting.

“How is she?” I asked.

“She texted she was not OK, and she didn’t want to talk about it,” he said.

“Give her some time,” I told him.

What reasons can I give to my children so that they can understand what just happened? Are they safe? When I look at what has happened around us I think perhaps not. We in our very normal suburban homes have been so close to these horrible disasters. I read the statistics and they say that violent crimes in schools in the USA are down, but here we are again, another person out of their mind with a gun. Guns are still too easy to access in the US and mental health care too difficult to access.

Our nation… our global community needs to spend more time meditating on how everything and everyone is interconnected and less time simply watching and mindlessly reacting to the horror of the moment. Compassionate thought should guide our every action, become our daily practice, and this will create our better future.

Please make it your mission to counter every act of random violence with a thoughtful act of kindness!

Peace in all your good endeavors.

I send my love and prayers for healing to the Chardon community and the many grieving families affected by this tremendous tragedy.


  1. Why do they want to target children in their madness? When I was 9 (1959) a man detonated a bomb killing 6 people (3 children including his son) and injured 18 others at an elementary school.

  2. In this case the killer was a teenage boy. School was the center of his limited world. If he had been a postal worker or an employee of Wendy's that might have been the target. Sadly, these acts of violence are not new but they are always shocking. I was just reading about the Bath School Bombing of 1927 when 38 elementary school students and several other people were killed by a mad man.

  3. I just read about it on another blog. It is shocking and your worst nightmare. My heart goes out to all people involved. I defenitely think that guns should be forbidden.

  4. Beautiful post, Jeri, and such a tragedy that this kind of random violence happens anywhere, but especially in schools. It's so unbearably sad.

  5. No, I imagine a lot of us are not OK.
    My heart goes out to the parents of the dead children and everyone who knew them.
    What is it with America and guns --
    which are so easily available.

    Sending love to you and your family.

  6. The American gun obsession is already past the point of no return. I have a relation that has perhaps a half million dollar gun collection. He is by no means the only one in America with a giant arsenal. Reuters estimates that there are 90 guns for every 100 people in the US. There is no buy back program that could touch the mess we have. Our only hope is to teach our children, respect, generosity and compassion. I would like to see serious punishments for people who do not keep their guns properly locked up.

    *Canada has 1/3 the number of guns per capita that we have and only 2% of the gun related murders per capita. Mexico has 1/6 the number of guns per capita of the US and 3 times the number of gun related murders per capita. It's not only the guns, it's the culture.