I was in the second grade in 1962, and the country was preparing for an atomic bomb strike. We had no idea what the fallout would be, but when the long bells sounded, we second graders would go to the coat closet in orderly fashion, return to our desks, and settle underneath with coats over our heads - until the all-clear bell. Then, we’d go back to practicing our cursive letters and learning where the sun rose, if it really did tomorrow.
Only we never really return to normal after the fear of death. I can still bring back the terror I felt at the sound of those long drill bells or during the bus ride home on a practice nuclear bomb dismissal, or throughout the discussions around the dinner table about how we would stock the furnace room for an attack.
And the bombs never fell.
But suppose they had, because the Kennedy administration determined that there was nothing to be done to stop them ?
So far this year, there have been 13 school shootings, and it’s only the beginning of April. Thirteen people have died or been injured, six of them children. And these are the injuries we can see. No one knows how a school shooting impacts those who witness it or those who know someone who was killed or injured, or those that practice an active shooter drill as part of every school curriculum.
Just like we practiced atomic bomb drills.
After the next school shooting, politicians will say that guns aren’t responsible for the carnage, and I agree. Republicans are, because they refuse to compromise on any issue that might reduce the number of available guns in this country or even talk about making them safer or inaccessible to those who should not possess them.
After the next school shooting, conservatives will say that there is no legislation that will stop the carnage. And I agree, not now anyway. But there was, until the conservatives refused to reinstate the Brady Bill, which cut homicides in this country in half.
After the next school shooting, the right will say that the second amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms, and I agree. But those arms were muskets and cannons, not automatic weapons. And the 2nd Amendment was intended to establish an armed militia against an authoritarian government, not against each other. The gun lobbyists and republican party have twisted both its intention and its meaning - even Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger, on 12/16/1991, referring to the 2nd Amendment stated that "this has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime"..
The automatic weapons that decimated the children at Uvalde and Sandy Hook were developed and intended to be used as weapons of war to kill an enemy that threatens this country - not elementary school children. But as long as Republicans protect them, these guns will be available for use and will kill more children, their parents, teachers, and anybody else who gets in the way.
This week, Florida became the 26th state in this country to establish the right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit and with no mandatory training. The 26th state.
If you are supporting a candidate who would make Virginia the 27th, you are supporting the next school shooting and the merciless slaughter of children.
Like I said, the bombs never fell when I was a kid and I can still taste that fear. But the bullets are falling now, killing and maiming and scaring another generation.
What are you going to do about it?
From the editor:
If you want to stop Youngkin and the Republicans from making us less safe in Virginia please consider joining your local Democratic Committee to help make that happen. We have a chance to take control of the General Assembly on November 7, 2023 and stop them in their tracks.