This Is Not Normal

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As of February 15, there have been 18 school shootings in 2018.

18.

This is not normal.

That’s 18 times students have walked into class thinking they were going to be safe only to have their lives changed forever. That’s 18 times parents have had their worst nightmares come true.

This is not normal.

I remember Columbine like it was yesterday. My brother had a little league baseball game the day after, and I took the newspaper with me to read about the massacre. What would cause two students to open fire on their classmates and teachers?

I remember Virginia Tech like it was yesterday. I was at the University of North Carolina Wilmington when we heard the news there was a shooting at Virginia Tech. I had friends there and immediately reached out to them on Facebook. The hours crawled by as I waited to hear back, terrified they never would. Thankfully they did, but I will never forget them telling me they were waiting to find out if their friends were alive.

I remember Sandy Hook like it was yesterday. I was at WAVY-TV in Portsmouth, Virginia when an alert came through there were reports of a shooting at an elementary school in New Town, Connecticut. That seemed unfathomable to me, that someone would walk into an elementary school and open fire. My first thought was it was a domestic situation. Some jilted lover was angry with an administrator or teacher. No children would be targeted. Then one of the local newspapers reported children had been killed, and then it was all confirmed. Babies.

Parkland happened yesterday. Teenagers who will never graduate. Teachers who were overworked and underpaid gave their lives to protect the future of America. Children telling the nation’s leaders to do something—anything. These leaders telling us we can’t politicize a tragedy, that all we can do is offer thoughts and prayers and maybe one day we can talk about the problem with guns in America. And then the news cycle moves on to another story, another scandal and then another school shooting. The cycle continues.

This is not normal.

The president offered remarks that some would call presidential. But those words mean nothing if there is no action. Thoughts and prayers didn’t prevent the deaths of 17 people in Parkland at the hands of a deranged man with an AR-15. The president calls for more mental health legislation, but he revoked regulation that would keep guns out of the hands of severely mentally ill people in 2017.

When members of the GOP were targeted in a shooting while practicing for the Congressional Baseball Game, still nothing happened.

What is it going to take for us to have this conversation? What is it going to take for something to be done?

Because, after all, this is not normal.

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