When did school shootings become old news?
There were two stories at the top of my Twitter feed this afternoon. One was about the latest high school shooting in Oregon and the other was about tomorrow's rainstorm. I clicked on the weather piece.
Why did I make that choice? Because quite honestly, school shootings have become old news; today's incident marks the 74th school shooting in the United States since the Newtown Massacre.
In writing this, though, I realize I am almost more disturbed by my reaction to the news story than I am by the news itself. How did this happen? How is it that someone can start shooting at children in a place where they are meant to be safe and we no longer pay attention to it? Have we become so painfully comfortable with this "new normal" that we don't see the horror in all of it? Have we given up trying to change this devastating trend because we don't want to do battle with gun right's advocates and the NRA? Or have we just accepted that this is part of life in American society?
Yes, there is technology out there that can literally shield our children during the school day, but isn't that simply reacting to the problem instead of solving it? Shouldn't our goal be to stop anyone from even considering entering a school with a gun? Don't we need to ask why anyone in the world (let alone numerous people) might have the idea to open fire in a school? We need to get serious as a nation and ask these questions, respect civilized and reasonable responses, and then work together to make radical and immediate change.
This isn't about taking second amendment rights away from Americans, but rather saying that we should sit down and try to figure out what we are doing wrong. Let's work together as gun owners, parents and mental health professionals to change this. Let's listen to each other. Let's stop calling each other names and repeating trivial sentiments that really don't add to the conversation.
And everyone needs to be involved. You have a voice and you can contribute to the conversation in a meaningful and powerful way, but you can't do it if you look away. We must face the reality that school shootings are becoming an epidemic and we must stop that epidemic today.
Turn on your television, read the news, get the facts and contribute to the solution. School shootings cannot be daily, weekly, monthly or even annual news. They must be stopped immediately. That can't happen if we spend more time on the weather channel than we do on the crisis in our schools. Don't give up because someone else's voice seems louder; your voice counts, your vote counts and your knowledge and awareness count most of all. Your children's lives depend on it.
Lisa Kaplin is a mother of three, a psychologist and a life coach at www.smartwomeninspiredlives.com.