When Society Breaks

I entered the lunchroom at the office complex where I work yesterday. I was reveling in the fact that it was almost quitting time. One of my co-workers asked if she could turn on the news. That’s never a good sign. My interest and my ears immediately perked up, but a sense of dread began its tell-tale churning in my stomach.

What’s going on? I asked.
School shooting. 18 kindergartners dead.
We all gasped. Apparently, my colleague was checking her email and the news of the incident in Newtown, popped up.

We watched, at first, with disbelief, then horror, then dismay and anger, as the news report unfolded. Children. Their teachers. A school principal and a school psychologist. I sat there stunned. I’ve been stunned ever since.

The event is, to me, unthinkable.

As I sat there, in shock, munching away on my now tasteless food, conversations about gun control broke out around the room. Then the conversation about the generation of children today who are lacking in empathy and growing up with a steady diet of desensitizing and very violent video games, started. Finally, I felt I had to chime in.

Yeah, well the next thing you know they are going to begin to expect teachers to wear guns.

I was, of course, met with disapproving glares and silence.

And, here we go. An Oregon politician wants to arm teachers. He says that the incident at Sandy Hook was another failure of school personnel to keep children safe.

Without going off on how absolutely angry that particular accusation makes me, let me just ask this of Mr. Richardson:

How will we pay for these handguns?
How will we pay for the professional development which will be required in order to insure that every teacher knows how to use the handgun responsibly and accurately?
Why,when after the last decade it has been very clear that policymakers and the public do not trust teachers enough to allow them to use their professional judgement to teach, are we now thinking teachers can be trusted with guns?
Finally, what happens to the teacher on that fateful day when she/he has to use that gun and an innocent child goes down in the crossfire? Will that teacher be commended for doing the job the policymakers are now suggesting they add to their already overloaded plates or will the teacher be vilified?

I think we all know the teacher won’t get the hero’s medal in a situation like that. It’s a devastating catch-22 for teachers these days.

I left work yesterday, deeply moved and disturbed by the events I witnessed on the television at lunch. I turned on the nightly news that evening, something I rarely do. Not many more details had been filled in since lunchtime. I loved the President’s response. I’ve spent today alone. In solitude. Watching the debates unfold digitally. Gun Control, Mental Health, The School System. The issues swirl and float and never seem to go anywhere solid.

What I do know is this: There wasn’t a teacher or school official at Sandy Hook that day that did anything less than what was humanly possible to keep everyone at that facility safe. It was sheer genius that someone tripped the loudspeaker so everyone could hear what was going on. Initiating a formal lockdown in a situation like that was just not going to happen. There was going to be no locking up of doors, or shushing of giggling kids. There was going to be no moving calmly to one side of the room while Teacher locks doors and checks the emails for status updates. Things were happening too fast. The teachers did what every teacher would instinctively do…they moved the kids, they hid the kids, they stuffed the kids in closets and cupboards, they took the bullets for the kids.

I’m getting weary of the talk that denigrates our teachers, and our schools. When society breaks and it bleeds all over an elementary school, it is not the school’s or the teachers’ fault. It is society’s fault. It is your fault. It is my fault. It is our fault.

The hope and future of a family is in its children. The hope and future of a nation is in its children. I am deeply saddened by the loss of hope for each of the families affected. I am mourning the loss that this is to all of us.

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About Miz Insomniac

Usually, it's the kids who grow up and leave home, but Miz Insomniac switched it up. When her kids grew up she decided to make her dreams come true so she flew the nest. After making 12 trips across the pond and back to Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East in 2014-15, Miz Insomniac now qualifies as a world traveler. She hasn't quite mastered the fine art of traveling light, but she knows how to manipulate travel plans to avoid missed flights and jet lag. A former hopeless romantic turned realist, she's stateside now reinventing her life in a new city, with new opportunities, and all the challenges that come with leaving a career, traveling abroad for a year, and then returning to a world that's nothing like she left it. Her overseas travel is by no means over, it's just not as frequent. She's different now, but remains a night owl. She writes when she should be sleeping...and while you probably are.

Posted on December 15, 2012, in Wrapping My Mind Around These Things...Or Trying To and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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