Thoughts & Prayers Are Trite

by Ilinap on November 6, 2017

I scope out exits everywhere I go now. I peek under seats to gauge the space beneath. I look for columns and other such things to duck behind if need be. I consider where I can hide and shield my sons.

For ages I’ve kept this to myself, fearing I’d look like a paranoid crazy woman. But I’m confessing it here now, for such is the world we live in. Perhaps I have become paranoid, but I like to think of it as prepared.

I had active shooter training in a job I held recently. The trainer saw my cubicle and actually ascertained if I could safely hop into the bottom file drawer in case I was cornered by an active shooter. I guess that’s an added benefit of being small. I actually thought the trainer was joking until he glumly told me it would be my only option since there was no exit anywhere near my desk. That training left me feeling uncomfortable and worried. And yes, I suppose a bit paranoid too. Is this our reality now, America?

I can’t even write about the time there was a code red at my sons’ school when an active shooter was on the run in our neighborhood. He had shot and killed his ex-wife just moments before, steps away from where I had been walking the dog. Too close to home, and I cannot begin to articulate the heartache I felt that day.

Yet here we are again, America. The tired din of “thoughts and prayers” echo from the halls of Congress. It’s a trite phrase for a meaningless sentiment. We hear it all too often, and it’s followed by crickets as lawmakers bow to the NRA shrine. I thought Sandy Hook was our national low, but it turns out that children shot and killed in church beats that. Half the victims in Texas were children. Neither school nor church is safe, America. Let that sink in.

We travel all over the world as a family. Many people ask us if we feel unsafe as we go on a tiger safari in India or walk the streets of London without a map. Our answer is always the same…we live in America, a place where gun violence takes lives everyday. If we were to be afraid of walking the streets, it would likely be in our own homeland. And truth be told, sometimes I am scared. I confess that large crowds make me feel uncomfortable. I worry about all the typical things that mothers of teenage boys the world over worry about, but gun violence is an added stress, especially with brown sons in the age of Trump.

Thoughts and prayers aren’t getting us anywhere. It’s time for action and policy.


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