Before I begin, let me acknowledge and concede that I don’t have the answers. I don’t pretend to. I know we are in the age of identity politics but I do not fall into that category. I align with one political party on some of my beliefs but I also understand and agree with some on the other side. It is not black and white to me. It is not one way or the other. I found myself almost paralyzed to share my opinions because I fear others who disagree will lash out and label me. But therein lies the problem: if we don’t share our voice, dialogue cannot occur and change cannot happen. I am not calling for a nation-wide ban on weapons, nor will I agree that the problem is entirely mental-health related. Gray exists and the solution rests somewhere in the middle of the extremes. What I bring to the table are my thoughts and a willingness to learn and change those thoughts. Which is far more than I can say for our elected representatives. I am a mom, a US Citizens, a recent-Floridian, an attorney and more. But mostly, I am angry.
Dear “Representatives” of the people,
In case you are slow to the draw, the quotations are used because at present, you all appear to be anything but representatives of the people. This includes members of Congress, the House of Representatives, local and national, our lawmakers and legislators, and the entire system that is designed to represent and protect the interest and lives of the very people who put them into a position of power. You. are. failing. us. Full stop.
I wonder if it is just me or are all moms shaking their head in utter disbelief at your lack of problem-solving skills you should have learned ages ago. Moms, who are masters at juggling all the things and deciphering when a problem needs a short term solution while committing to tackle the bigger problem. Maybe you just need a simple checklist to do your job. Would that help? Seems to me that if you hold your current title, Mr. or Ms. Representative, you should be able to perform what moms all over the world have no choice but to do. Perhaps I should give you the benefit of the doubt, something I am not sure you deserve when it appears to all of us (and the entire world) that you cannot (or perhaps will not) help us. If the latter is true, you are disgusting, vile and as guilty as the perpetrator wielding the weapon directed at our most vulnerable and most sacred educators. In the event you are merely as inept as you appear, follow along below for a check-list on how to tackle this problem.
- Put down your pride, close your wallets and represent us. At this rate, if you are only concerned about the money coming in you are shortsighted at best and more than likely, evil. Human life has no price. Stop failing to act as if it does.
- Place armed and properly trained police officers at the entrance of every school across America. I am sure I will get some pushback on this one and I am willing to listen. However, to me, this is the most appropriate short-term solution after weighing the pros and cons. They must be trained, they must be armed and they must be present and ready for any threat to our children and educators. Our kids are practicing active shooter drills in schools but a desk and door does little to protect against a gun. Also, as far as funding, our administration seems to print money like Jesus turned water into wine so I think we can find a way. Might I suggest turning over your NRA “donation” to fund this endeavor.
- Go watch the body-cam footage of the most recent Nashville school shooting. If that doesn’t move you to action, resign. Let someone more capable represent us.
- Set up a task force assigned to investigate why and where our gun laws aren’t being enforced and penalties aren’t being applied. We have laws, why aren’t they working? The task force should include individuals with expert backgrounds in education, law enforcement, mental health providers and even those who work in the tech industry. This is the long game. We have to figure out why things aren’t working and where the communication breakdown is happening. It will require research, education and communication between many different parties. This is going to be a massive undertaking but one that will be worth it.
- Fund mental health care. We have two problems: guns and mental health. The combination of which has proven to be deadly. It’s not all or nothing, one or the other, it is both and both need our attention.
- Change. We should have all learned this but you must first perform the research before the results can be reliable. The results of the task-force investigation will be instrumental here. Something has to be done. I don’t know what that is because we haven’t done the leg work. Restrictions will 100% be a part of the action-plan. I am an attorney. I LOVE the constitution. I respect it. I believe in the right to bear arms. I also believe my children and their educators have a right to attend school without being shot. There is a way to protect each right. Those two can co-exist. The right to bear arms is not absolute. Don’t agree? Then you don’t understand our system of government where a balance test is performed when determining one’s rights. You should probably resign if you don’t agree that rights have conditions. Here is an elementary example that was taught when I was a 1L in law school: you have a right to free speech but you cannot run into a public gathering screaming “fire” without repercussion. Now that you have put a band-aid on the problem by posting armed police officers at every school who are trained in school shooting protocol, you must likewise have a plan of action that addresses the results of the investigation. I don’t purport to know what that is as it hasn’t been done yet.
Did that help? Can you now DO SOMETHING?? I am sure other moms can offer many other practical “to-do’s.” Just read the comments if you find yourself struggling how to act. Listen to those messages that are flooding your inboxes.
I don’t want to end without addressing parents and caregivers.
We are exhausted. We are sick and tired of this being the headline. I am with you. But there are practical things we can do as well.
- Call your representatives. I won’t give you a script because you have to voice your own personal concerns. But you can call them, identify yourself and your representative and let them know what change you want to see happen. Let them know that inaction will convert into action on election day. Use your voice, it is powerful.
- Talk to your kids. Be their safe space and source of information during this unimaginable time we are living. Encourage them to say something if they see or hear something.
- Mr. Rogers famously said “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.” Be the helper. You can help those injured in the most recent shooting in Nashville here.
- Take care of your own mental health. Whether that means praying, helping victims, disconnecting from social media or ignoring the media coverage. Your mental health matters.
- Thank your teachers. Not only are they the real heroes for teaching our children but they get elevated to an undefined level of heroism for doing it in the face of danger every single day.
- Thank law enforcement. I do not recommend you watch the body-cam footage from yesterday’s shooting. It’s indescribable to watch but you will have tremendous respect and awe for the men and women who fearlessly risk their lives for our own safety. They cannot be thanked enough for their sacrifice.
- Lead with grace. Our children are watching. If we harbor anger and hatred toward those who offer a different solution, we can expect our children to demonstrate that same intolerance for discourse.
Moms, what else can we do? We run the world so let’s share our ideas with those who seem unable to do so in spite of their position.