Even without guns, gun culture is terrorizing our country

America’s gun culture proves once again that there is no need to intimidate people with bullets — or even guns.

In Wednesday’s case, the victims were thousands of high school students and teachers at one of the largest and most high-profile public high schools in the Washington area, as well as thousands of their loved ones.

a student report possible The gun sent Bethesda Chevy Chase High School into lockdown, into the newly familiar, grotesque, self-inflicted ritual of American education.

“I really thought someone was going to be shot and I would hear gunshots and I would hear them screaming,” said second-grader Lila Ben-Yehuda, who spent an hour in a darkened classroom , shutters closed, quiet. “I thought I had to text my family goodbye.”

Many parents get this information from their children, who get messages from terrified children who are huddled in small spaces who are told to remain completely still and silent in the dark for an hour. The way they were trained.

Do you know how long it takes you to think you’re going to die? ‘ said one student.

An art teacher with a pole stood outside the kiln, ready to protect the students curled up inside.

A boy who was late for class was locked out of the classroom, struggling to get back inside, and in the hallway, he was taught that he was a sitting target, knocking on the door, trying to convince his teacher to ask “Who? Who?” My colleague Dan Morse reported that it was Zach, not the shooter.

How school lockdowns – even without guns – are scary

The school has issued a media alert updating the situation. Parents started showing up at the school after kids texted them from inside, most of them unaware of what was happening outside their closed classrooms.

Later that day, the administrator scolded them all.

“Students text each other and their families today,” High School Principal Sheldon Mooney wrote in a message to parents. “This adds to the anxiety and complication for police and staff as many people come to the school and have questions about our safety procedures.”

But who can blame them? We are no longer in the theoretical realm when it comes to these tragedies.

Who hasn’t seen the harrowing footage of parents in Uwald, Texas, standing outside a school while some of their children bled to death inside, with hundreds of people terrified and dozens of police standing around?

Damn, those parents went straight to school. Angeli Gomez, our nation’s new patron saint of parents, the way she jumped over the fence that day after police briefly handcuffed her and ran into Robb Elementary School to save her son.

Outside Rob Elementary School, 376 law enforcement officers hesitated for more than an hour as the fourth grader bled and died, according to a Texas House report.

Of course, those Montgomery County parents are ready to get their kids out of the classroom, if it comes down to it.

This is a reality for our country, not an assumption.

“It’s an American school,” said Lila, a 15-year-old sophomore who reported that the next day, whenever one of her school’s doors opened, she would jump up, every sudden movement. caught her eye. “Of course it’s about guns.”

What she was experiencing was mild post-traumatic stress disorder. We did it to them. We’re a country that classifies movies, music, and video games to lessen the trauma of our children, a country that bans books and legislates to wipe the word “gay” from the classroom, but we ask them to imagine and act on their own on a regular basis slaughter.

Unlike the nuclear attack school drills baby boomers told me they endured (“And we beautiful! ”), school shootings do happen. More often than you might know.

Millions of children fear being shot at school. Now is the time for our country to say “enough”.

According to The Washington Post’s database of school shootings, aside from the big names we know — Sandy Hook, Parkland, Columbine, Uwald — there have been at least 100 people since Columbine in 1999. 311,000 children experienced gun violence in their schools.

The Holocaust had a very brief lull (thanks, covid), but 2021 was the most violent year in our database – with 42 shootings. Compared to 12 in 2003 or 13 in 2016. There have been 24 so far this calendar year and the new school year is just a few weeks away.

Just in Montgomery County, a 17-year-old student shot and killed a 15-year-old with a ghost gun in a bathroom at Magruder High School in January.

But the actual gunfire and those 311,000 people are just a fraction of what we agreed to get our kids into the gun problem. While hundreds of thousands of children have suffered real-life shootings and scars, we have included every American teacher and student in every lockdown drill we have conducted against them.

Schools were back to normal on Thursday, as loudspeakers told children to speak to a school counselor if they wanted to talk about what happened.

“I feel like I really can’t see,” Lila said. “You need to talk about it. We all need to talk about it, but they’ll pretend nothing happened.”

She said the shooting threat had normalized, “like a weather alert.”

This is what American adults don’t get – bloodless ripping, the hidden cost of American gun culture.

“The people in power haven’t fully listened to the people who have to get through these lockdowns,” said Lyric Winik, president of the PTA at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.

If they listened, perhaps America would understand the deep psychological imprint of our gun problem on a generation of kids — even without guns around.

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