Students at Santa Fe High School in Texas should have been getting ready for Friday night’s big varsity baseball game and Sunday’s graduation ceremony.
Instead, a busy school morning was shattered by gunfire, and now 10 people are dead, mostly students, and more wounded. Some escaped by running, at a teacher’s instruction, to the theater department’s storage room, where they huddled while the smell of gunpowder hung in the air. Paige Curry, according to the Houston Chronicle, hid for half an hour, “on the phone with my mom the whole time.” Imagine being the mother who gets that early morning call from a terrified child who might be gunned down while you’re still on the phone with her. A daughter who is relying on your voice to calm her even as you wonder whether you will ever hear her voice again.
Does that make you flinch? Make you a little queasy? Good. No one should have the luxury of being numb. This is the 22nd time this year that one or more people have been shot on the grounds of a U.S. school — a little more than once a week. Each shooting — no matter the number of victims — should provoke fresh outrage at lawmakers who have turned democracy on its head by ignoring the will of a clear majority of the American people who want gun laws that work.
By definition, the current laws are not working. Shame on those who would rather fawn over the NRA and mock the survivors of previous shootings who have dared to transform their sorrow into a call for action.
Life does not have to be this way. It is not, in most countries. Those nations have their own issues, but regularly being bombarded with the news that another school, another concert, another outing has been transformed into a killing field is not one of them.
Legislative leaders in St. Paul have spent months running out the clock, gutlessly suppressing any attempt to pass sensible gun reforms before adjournment. They may succeed this time, but let them know you will be back. That you will keep calling, keep showing up, keep demanding that they stop catering to extremist gun groups and start protecting American lives. And that you will remember the next time they’re on the ballot.