Nothing Normal About a School Lockdown
Just 20 Cents from Each of Us Would Outspend the NRA
On Monday, April 3, 2023, San Marcos High School received an active shooter threat. The report ultimately wound up being a hoax and students were told to go back to class. They were also told that they could speak to someone if they wanted to.
However, from the time the lockdown was called until the all clear, many students and staff genuinely believed that there was someone on campus with a gun looking to kill people. As they were cowering in their rooms, staying away from doors and windows, being told to keep quiet while armed law enforcement officers walked down the halls yelling and knocking on doors, how many of those students were staring at the door waiting for someone to come through it, point a gun at them, and shoot them? How many of them thought that that was their last day on earth? How many of them envisioned watching the life drain from a classmate’s eyes as they got covered in a pool of their own blood? How many of them dreaded hearing that a friend or a teacher was dead?
This was a near death experience for everyone on that campus. There is nothing normal about the rest of these students’ lives, much less the rest of their day. They needed time to process what had just happened. Some may have wanted to spend time by themselves. Some may have wanted to connect with their friends. Some may have wanted to go home. Some may have wanted to speak to a counselor, and so on. They needed to be told that it’s okay for them to feel sad, angry, afraid, ashamed, guilty, numb, or even unbothered.
Have we become so numb to gun violence that we see an active shooter threat as just another day?
Unfortunately, the cowardice and ineptitude of our legislators in this matter has created yet another burden for the school system to bear. But that does not absolve our school system from the responsibility of tending to our children’s emotional needs.
The NRA contributes $58.5 million to our senators in a typical year. If every single person in this country chipped in 20 cents, that would total $60 million . Maybe if we the people match NRA contributions, meaningful gun control measures will be passed. After all, to paraphrase the great Mel Brooks, the U.S. Senate is the greatest legislature that money can buy.
Twenty cents a year to eliminate active shooter incidents, ensure that no parent gets the dreaded text notification of a lockdown, and to ensure that every child comes home from school every day, is one heck of a bargain. Until then, we’d better treat each lockdown incident as the near death experience it is.