I had a very different column planned for this month, something light, about summer activities. Then on the day of this writing, May 24, 2022, a young man in Uvalde, Texas, took the lives of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School. My other piece went completely out the window because I knew I needed to write about this. I am the mother of two young children, and I am terrified.
Every day we step outside trusting that our day is going to be normal and mundane. And that is usually true. Most days, we go through our regular daily routines and everything is fine. The problem with the unexpected is that everything is fine until it isn’t. The parents who lost their children in the shooting at Robb Elementary School were having a normal Tuesday until suddenly they weren’t.
None of us are immune from unexpected tragedy. Uvalde has roughly the same population as Boulder City, and only one person has to make a horrific decision that would turn Andrew J. Mitchell into the next Robb Elementary. I’m sure that most of the parents of Robb’s students did not expect their school to become the next Sandy Hook. And yet, here we are.
Before I moved to Boulder City I was an administrator at a small private middle and high school. During winter break, every teacher and administrator went through an active shooter training and drill. One teacher asked at the debrief when the students would be going through the training. The principal told us they wouldn’t; the chance that the shooter would be a student was too high and we didn’t want them to have advance knowledge of our plans.
While the school never had an active shooter in my time there, there was once a bomb threat that evacuated the entire school. I was the person communicating directly with the parents after the evacuation. It was a rough day for all involved.
I am feeling very powerless at this moment, but the truth is that there are ways to prevent this from happening again. But nobody likes to talk about that because that means talking about stricter gun laws. That’s the conversation that needs to happen, though. The current laws and regulations are not working. Guns keep ending up in the hands of young men who acquire them with the intent to kill moviegoers, church worshippers and innocent children.
I am not a policy expert, nor do I purport to be one, so I’m not going to pretend that I know exactly what changes would be the most appropriate or effective. What I do know is that there are people who have dedicated their entire careers to becoming policy experts in this subject matter and who have decades of data and research to inform more effective policies. We need to be listening to them.
Our children should not be asked to put their lives on the line in order to make purchasing guns a slightly easier, more convenient process. Parents have the right to send their children to school without worrying that they’ll be picking them up in a body bag. Teachers deserve to feel safe in their workplaces; education should never be a career that involves a risk of death.
Buying a gun should not be easier than obtaining a driver’s license. Continuing to allow lax gun laws means the blood of all these children, and the children yet to be murdered in school shootings (and until something is done there will be more) is on our hands.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.
Kayla Kirk is a lactation educator in the Las Vegas Valley. She holds degrees in psychology and perinatal education from Boston University and the University of California, San Diego. You can find her hanging out in the local coffee shops or hiking with her husband and two children.