A Lack of Imagination – Robb Elementary

I was given a great gift – imagination. It carried me through some difficult times in my childhood, and has allowed me to have remarkable adventures in my mind. 

For the past 4 1/2 years, I’ve been taking care of our business owner’s child. I’ve fed her, burped her, changed her diapers, and rocked her to sleep. As she grew, she hung onto my fingers as she walked and explored her surroundings. Those early mangled words and nonsense noises have coalesced into an incredible vocabulary. I’ve stood at the bottom of the slide, encouraging her to take the risk of sliding down, then watched her tell me to sit on the bench so she can play on her own. I’ve dragged her to daycare screaming and crying, then transitioned to seeing her roll her eyes with disappointment while playing with her friends, when she see’s I’m there to pick her up. And I’ve seen her early love of Frozen, Annie, and nursery rhymes turned into a full-blown Hamilton obsession. I may not be a mom, but I’ve gotten a slice of it, and how the love grows with each breath. 

So when this school shooting happened in Robb Elementary, it took on a new dimension to me. My gift of imagination turned into a curse. I could see her in her classroom, eyes filled with fear from the sounds of gunshots. I could imagine her teacher, whose responsibility is to keep those kids safe, desperate to do anything to protect them while knowing there was little she could do. I could imagine the gunman coming in and destroying the precious lives of all those children I see every day when I pick her up. I could imagine the devastation I would feel if my little charge’s life was cut short. I could imagine how her parents would also be destroyed. With those imaginings, I gained a knowledge that I would do anything…. anything to keep that child safe and protect her from the horror those children at Robb Elementary experienced.

But what can I do? Every school shooting follows a familiar pattern. There are calls for changes to laws, mostly by Democrats. Republican then get mad at Democrats (not the shooter) and claim this isn’t the time and that Democrats are politicizing the events. But considering we have mass shootings every few days, when is there ever going to be a time that is acceptable to Republicans? And since politics is how we enact laws, how do you not politicize it? We need to work through the political system to enact change. And if Republicans don’t want to do that political work, I guess that means they’re fine with the status quo of children being slaughtered in their classrooms as long as they can keep their sacred weaponry. 

Most of these politicians know very well that there are laws that can be enacted that fall within the constitutionality of the 2nd amendment and would provide some protection to Americans. Ninety percent of American are in favor of universal background checks, yet politicians beholden to the NRA block that measure.

We aren’t allowed to own RPG launchers. We aren’t allowed to own functioning tanks. We aren’t allowed to own nuclear weapons. And there’s absolutely no reason to allow average citizens to own high capacity, rapid firing rifles with armor piercing rounds. No reason. None. Would outlawing these weapons stop all mass shootings? Nope. But would it reduce them? Absolutely. History and statistics prove it. 

Some would say we shouldn’t punish law abiding citizen and that criminals will always get guns somehow. Here’s the deal. This kid WAS a law abiding citizen when he bought his weapons… and then yesterday, he became a criminal by using them. 

To the cowards who say there is nothing that can be done, they are liars, and they know it.

Of course, limiting those weapons isn’t the whole answer. There are more steps needed that include access to mental health care and research on the issue to know what will keep it from happening again. So no, an assault weapons ban alone will not solve the problem, but it is one step. And we have to start by taking one step, and then the next, and the next, and the next. We’re Americans. That used to mean there wasn’t any problem we couldn’t solve. What happened to us? When did we just give up?

So often I look at these NRA shills and wonder if they have no heart. But maybe what they have is a lack of imagination. They can’t imagine their children or grandchildren in this situation. They blissfully ignore the suffering of parents as they lose the most precious thing in their life, because it hasn’t affected them. They prefer to hide their heads in the sand so they may worship at the altar of the gun.

But I do have an imagination. And I have a heart. I will do whatever it takes to make progress on this issue. I will call my representatives. I will use my words, as I am doing here. I will use my actions when I see a way to do so. Columbine. Sandy Hook. Stoneman Douglas. Robb Elementary. What school will next be added to the list. One near you? Will it take happening at a school your child attends before you take action? I hope not, because then it may be too late.

Don’t let the lack of empathy and imagination condemn more children to a brutal death. Look at the faces of these 19 children. What would you do to protect your child? Do it. Now. We, as citizens, need to let our demands be heard. Call your representatives and let them know what you expect from them and hold them accountable for their inaction. 

Not another child. Please. Not one more. Take the power from the gunman’s hands, and put it in your own. Don’t let a lack of imagination in how we might fix this take another life.

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