Arming our nation’s teachers to defend against mass shootings is not a solution because teachers, Mr. President, are not soldiers.
Arming a teacher with a weapon does not instantly turn that teacher into someone who is capable of taking a human life, no matter how proficient a marksman he or she is. They lack the intense psychological training and preparation soldiers receive that is necessary in order to take a life. Teachers are not soldiers and targets are not people.
Armed guards at schools is not a solution either. Anyone who has never taken a human life who says they can do so without hesitation is not someone you want armed anywhere near a child or a school. They will either become the kind of guard who stands frozen in a parking lot while children die inside, or they become a wannabe hero who takes a life because the opportunity to call it vigilantism presents itself. (*cough* George Zimmerman *cough*).
I have worked most of my adult life in the educational system and have only witnessed one instance where a decorated soldier successfully transitioned into teaching and believe me, the world would be a much better place if that man were in charge. But sadly, he is an anomaly. I believe that most teachers would not be able to pull the trigger on an armed child standing in front of them, especially if he or she knew the child. I know I wouldn’t be able to.
My vote, Mr. President, is not to react with defense, but with offense. Offense wins Super Bowls, right? So why not use offense to tackle this problem? Let’s put our tax dollars BACK into schools. Let’s hire more teachers so they are able to offer more one-on-one attention to students. Let’s serve healthy breakfasts and lunches because trying to do anything on an empty stomach is a waste of time. Support after school activities and pay the people who run these programs a reasonable wage to do so.
Maybe most importantly, let’s hire more counselors who can identify problem students early and then give them resources to help that child grow into someone who doesn’t become so disenfranchised that he or she shoots up their own school.
Did you notice, Mr. President, that when kids shoot up a school, they shoot up THEIR school? And why not? School is the entire world to a child, and if that child feels as though that world doesn’t want them, the rejection becomes too much to bear. And let’s not forget that the majority of people who murder children at school are children themselves. More guns are not the answer to that problem. Early intervention is.
Mr. President, we don’t need another mouthpiece for the NRA. We need you to make a pledge to invest as much time, effort and money into the safety of our children as you do anything else that crosses your desk.
Take a look at these faces. They belong to a Mexican Immigrant, a Chinese-American, and an all American white girl. These three heroes dreamed of spending their adult lives doing exactly what they did one sad morning, protecting the lives of others. I cannot tell you how furious I am that our President has so little respect for who these three represent; women, “dirty Mexicans” and people from “Chiiiiiiina.” I have been proud to share a nation with these three stellar humans for the short time they were allowed to exist here. Let’s hope our President strives to reach the standard they set for us all.
READ MORE ABOUT ALAINA PETTY, PETER WANG AND MARTIN DUQUE HERE
There is no easy way to deliver the sad news that our young friend, Libby, has lost her brave battle with cancer. On the evening of Sunday, March 17, Libby spent her last few hours mercifully free of pain, surrounded by the friends and family whom she so dearly loved.
I will admit to struggling for some time with the crafting of this post, wanting my words to do Libby’s life justice. I was desperate to seek out and find the good within the tragedy, to find meaning in the joyous birth, brief life, cruel illness and untimely death of this beautiful young girl. Twenty-four hours later and the words still struggle to come.
My first attempt at a post was meant to be a memorial to Libby’s life and her legacy of positivity despite adversity. Luckily for me I was blessed to know Libby personally, and as anyone who knew her well will tell you her positivity wasn’t hard to find. Both spirited and stubborn, quick-witted and compassionate, Libby’s energy and light drew in everyone around her.
Yet despite being a direct recipient of her love and energy, my words failed me. There just weren’t adjectives enough to describe all that Libby was in life. Every turn of phrase was deemed woefully inadequate. Naturally, I started over.
My next pass at a draft focused on the struggle to seek out the positive in loss, even a loss as tragic as the death of a child. I crafted nearly a page of generic comfort words, each sentence painting a picture that paled in comparison to the miracle that was Libby. Needless to say that draft never saw the light of day either.
I had all but given up when I decided to take a break and update Libby’s Wrists Around The World page, hoping to regroup and get a handle on just what it was I wanted to say. As I read down the list of names on her FRIENDS OF LIBSTRONG page and saw pictures in her GALLERY of wrists of people from all over the world, it hit me-
You. Me. All of us. WE are her legacy.
Strangers who with a click of a mouse became family. Writers who donated their work for her benefit. Readers who bought books for her cause. New friends the world over who donned wristbands and thought enough of a child thousands of miles away to carry her with them, to memorialize her struggle in a snapshot. It became clear to me in that one, glorious moment that the very best way to honor Libby and her life would be to live our lives well, to continue to give of ourselves freely, selflessly, and to demonstrate daily the good that resides in us all.
Libby’s bravery brought out the best in all of us. What better way is there to honor her than to do our very best everyday? As long as we are brave enough to answer that question, Libby’s life will have meaning. Libby, within us all, will live on.