I was 14 in 1999 when Columbine happened. I remember feeling the shock, horror, and overall sickness that comes with a national tragedy of that caliber.
According to a February 15, 2018 article in The Washington Post by John Woodrow Cox and Steven Rich, “An ongoing Washington Post analysis has found that more than 150,000 students attending at least 170 primary or secondary schools have experienced a shooting on campus since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.”
Just think about it, 150,000 students -- that’s more than the population of Fargo. I don’t consider myself pro-gun and I don’t think of myself as anti-gun. I grew up in central North Dakota and -- believe it or not -- I lean to the left and I don’t want to take your gun from you.
But if one shoe bomber tries to blow up a plane, it’s airport security protocol to remove your shoes before boarding. How many children have to die before we realize America has an unhealthy relationship with firearms and do something about it?
What can we do about it? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy and it won’t be solved in a day. I love and respect my friends and family that stand on both sides of the political spectrum. I just wish that we could all have a civil conversation about the issue.
I understand hunting rifles and pistols, I don’t hunt, but I understand hunting culture. I’ve shot a semi-automatic once and it scared the hell out of me. I don’t understand why civilians need to be armed as if they’re preparing for war, but then again even if you ban a certain type of gun people will find a way to get it. Hard drugs are illegal too, but there’s a way to get them if one so desires them.These are not the weapons our nation’s Founding Fathers described when they penned the Second Amendment.
Lawmakers have been blaming video games, rock n’ roll, hip hop, and mental illness since ‘99, so why not allocate more funding toward the improvement of mental health treatment and/or facilities rather than cutting these programs?
One would think that we’d start looking for solutions rather than scapegoats in 19 years. Instead we’re stuck with an overabundance of thoughts and prayers from our lawmakers.
I know the thoughts and prayers might help these politicians sleep better at night but how are these students and teachers sleeping after huddling in a closet or bathroom while practicing lockdown procedures?
A friend who is an educator at a small school outside of Fargo said that some students are indifferent, while others are nearly reduced to tears during these drills. This is the fodder that nightmares are made of. And now it’s practiced like a fire drill.
I spoke with another friend and educator after our Bartender Battle. Lockdown drills have become as common as tornado drills and fire drills in his school. The lockdown he described was through a program called ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training.
The same program also offers RAIDER (Rapid Deployment, Awareness, Intervention, Decisiveness, EMS, Recovery) training, which is first responder treatment specifically for the police force and armed security guards.
The ALICE program isn’t just limited to schools. It encompasses training sessions for law enforcement centers, colleges, churches, government agencies and businesses.
That doesn’t really seem like it has anything to do with “liberty and justice for all.” Living in fear doesn’t sound like it has anything to do with “making America great again” either.
We’re not blaming Trump, but he’s supposed to be the one we look up to in times of crisis. Two days after the tragedy, he sent out a tweet that read:
"Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign -- there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!"
An angry survivor tweeted back: "17 of my classmates are gone. That's 17 futures, 17 children, and 17 friends stolen. But you're right, it always has to be about you. How silly of me to forget. #neveragain."
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