The school I went to had roughly 400 or so kids. In grades K-12. The school I teach in now, 2,100 in grades 9-12. The town I grew up in only had about 800 people total. It's intimidating for a small town girl to be a teacher in such a huge school. It's also frightening sometimes.
School shootings seem common, but they really are not. Yet it's in my head almost every day. Not a paralyzing fear, more of an awareness. That there are wackos. That mental illness is a problem. That teenagers are impulsive. That we've got kids at our school with anger problems. Kids who are in gangs. Many a lunch table conversation among my coworkers have revolved around what each of us would do if met with a student and a gun. It's scary.
Tonight hubby and I had to watch NBC and their coverage of Virginia Tech. The shootings that happened there today have set records in terms of mass shootings and deaths in American history. The worst campus massacre in our history. Of course, they also had to review the shootings at the Amish school that occurred a few months ago. And Columbine High School.. We were also reminded that April 20th is the anniversary of that horrible tragedy. It left me trembling.
Tonight there are families who have lost their babies to a young man with a gun. He took many, many lives along with him. Tonight there are people who are planning their son's and daughter's funerals instead of their graduation. Kids who were probably planning graduation receptions or summer vacations. Gone. Dreams of future careers or of first generation post-secondary degrees, gone. Theses that will never be finished. Engagements that have ended. Young lives taken for absolutely no reason.
I leave my own kids for 10 hours a day at our church daycare. I feel that they are safe. I don't worry about much more than a virus going around or a scrape on the playground. It is unimaginable what happened today. It makes me want to stay home and be "safe". Kids should not have to be scared to go to school to learn. Teachers should not have to fear going to work.
Answers will come out. He was crazy. He had a fight with his girlfriend. He had been kicked out of his program of study. Who knows? All I know is that tonight all I can do is pray for those families and for the kids left behind, who will be stunned with fear for so long. Pray for professors and officers and college faculty who will have to find the courage to go back to work. And I thank God for the safety of my family. And that tonight we are all here together. Sleeping soundly under the same roof for another night.
I'm so sad for those who aren't. And I pray for their sorrow and that they will somehow find comfort in others. Tomorrow morning they are having an assembly in their basketball arena. A campus that enrolls 25,000 kids. Will anyone show up? What can they possibly say? I don't know what else they can possibly do. But I know the world will be watching to find out.
Please God give the people handling the fallout from this tragedy wisdom and patience. Many are trying to place blame for this horrific event. Please also give the media covering this event intelligence and empathy. Please help people to see ways to help and lead them in that direction. Please help this bring people together rather than divide. Please be with them tonight and through it all.