A lot of kids are anxious for summer vacation. Looking forward to spending more time with family. Fun in the sun. Road trips. A few months away from the pencils, books, and the looming specter of being gunned down in home room.
In the days after the shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, this sentiment has been echoed without a smirk by children across the country. They are not cracking wise. They are stating what has become inevitable fact. News sites have to amend their list of fatal school shootings an a weekly basis. And even as the numbness continues to set in, there is still outrage, pain and suffering among those who can still feel. While we wait for someone to offer up anything that sounds like sense.
It's not coming from the Lieutenant Governor's office in Texas. Dan Patrick has a lot to say about what is happening in his state, and the nation. Lt. Dan appeared on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, he wanted us all to remember that guns "are a part of who we are as a nation. It is our Second Amendment — you know, it talks about a well-run militia…our teachers are part of that well-run militia.” Yes, I know that there are plenty of other folks across this great land of ours who would like teachers to take on the additional responsibility of armed security for our schools. Most of us educators feel like the job description is already pretty full, and finding the prep time to fit in target practice would mean a whole lot more negotiation with the district and will it be a merit based system whereby each bad guy gunned down brings a bigger bonus?
This is a guy who suggested that there were just too many doors in a school to keep all the kids safe. Which is interesting from the standpoint of someone who has to run fire, earthquake, and lockdown drills. Mostly we want to keep the kids away from the fire or the falling debris or the gun. It helps to have more than one door for this. We do whatever we can to keep kids from bringing matches to school. We don't allow students to have guns. These seem like pretty good rules to have in place, safety wise. So far this year, adults bringing guns to campus hasn't really worked out so well.
Oliver North, the new president of the National Rifle Association has a different take. He blamed the problem on "youngsters who are steeped in a culture of violence" in which many young boys have "been on Ritalin" since early childhood. "They've been drugged in many cases," he said. Ollie failed to make a connection between the culture of violence and the easy availability of guns.
So we get ready to head off to summer vacation. Don't worry kids, I'm sure the grownups will have this all figured out by the time the Back To School sales start.