I feel it in the air as soon as it starts getting cold — the encroachment of December 14. This week will be four years since 20 children and six educators were shot and killed at Sandy Hook School, where I taught second grade. In the days, weeks, and months following the attack, the nation grieved alongside the community of Newtown. And many of us rallied around calls for changes to our gun laws. But four long years later, gun violence continues to ravage families and communities across the country. On average, 91 Americans a day are killed by guns, hundreds are injured, and even more are witnesses. The senseless losses in recent years have shaken schools, churches, nightclubs, and homes. Lives are stolen, damaged, and forever changed. Is this the country we want to be? Ask one teacher you know if schools are the same after the Sandy Hook shooting. They’re not. We have lockdowns, simulations, and a new fear of knowing that shootings can and do happen everywhere, including in K-12 schools. Ask one professor you know if college life is the same after the tragedies at Virginia Tech and in Isla Vista. They’re not. In nine states — and the gun lobby is fighting for more — colleges are forced to allow guns on campus. What could possibly go wrong?
I am still a teacher, in another school, in another grade. But now I also fight for a safer country alongside survivors of gun violence and advocates who refuse to accept the NRA’s 'guns everywhere' agenda.
We all have a responsibility to do everything in our power to bring an end to the devastation.