Children and teachers are paying for congressional failures.

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“Mom. We’ve been training for this all our lives,” my 15-year-old son said when I tested his mood after the classroom massacre in Texas this week.

“We know this stuff happens,” he said, barely containing a roll of his eyes before throwing a backpack over his shoulder and heading for the metal detector at the entrance to his school in Georgetown, one of the wealthiest enclaves in America.

Here it is. We have stained a generation of American children – and their teachers alongside them – with a grim acceptance and sickening war-weariness.

Yes, it was the mass shootings that made headlines, which had a president gasping in grief and frustration in front of TV cameras after 19 students and two beloved teachers were killed by an 18-year-old in Uvalde.

But these massacres – inconceivable in any part of the world, even in places at war – are only a fraction of the ways we have saturated our nation with blood.

All over social media we have parents and experts advising each other on how to explain this to our children. Meanwhile, the kids aren’t surprised by another shooting – we are. We didn’t grow up with it, but we allowed this rat-a-tat, consistent interaction with gun violence to be a part of our children’s lives.

Ban books to save children? Please, bullets are much more dangerous.

Here is a short list of gun-related mailings, threats and deaths in our region in May:

  • Two men were slaughtered during a children’s flag football game in Manassas, Virginia.
  • A 16-year-old boy was stopped after he allegedly walked into a mall in Manassas wearing a ski mask and carrying a gun.
  • A 15-year-old boy shot and killed two men in an apartment in Woodbridge, Virginia.
  • A 9-year-old girl was shot while playing outside with friends. There is a gutting video of the incident, where she shouts “I can’t feel my legs anymore!” over and over again as his friends hide.
  • A young man working Cine Park at a McDonald’s in Crofton, Maryland, was shot in the window.
  • A 15-year-old boy was beaten down in his southeast Washington neighborhood.
  • A 46 year old man has been arrested after calling a southern Maryland elementary school and threatening “mass violence”.

“We need to toughen those targets,” Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said. said, the day his state was the site of one of modern America’s worst school massacres.

It’s a school, not a target. And the hardening is already happening, Dan.

Our children and our teachers are hardened by the gunfire and bloodshed that is part of their lives. They prepare for it, every day.

It might be outside of an upscale private school in an expensive neighborhood of the nation’s capital (the Edmund Burke school shooting in April) or a public school in Iowa where most kids are “economically disadvantaged” (East High School filming in Des Moines in March). They will know the shots.

I feel like a kid in America now my peers got shot at work

Children and teachers at Robb Elementary School rehearsed the attack two months before the assault with drills that took less than a generation of students to become as standard as the morning bell.

All of our nation’s children and teachers do this. Ask them; ask a teacher what it’s like to pretend to be hunted down and slaughtered in the place where he’s going to learn.

“What they don’t tell you is that teachers are told during training that they have to lock down all of their students who aren’t in class,” said Erin Hahn, an author and teacher from Michigan. “Even though they beg and knock on the door. Because there might be a shooter using them to gain access to your class… This policy has always haunted me.

More than 311,000 students have been victims of gun violence at school since Columbine

The arming of teachers is again in the conversation.

“You’re going to have to do more in school,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said after the shooting. “You’re going to have to have more people trained to respond.”

It’s a ridiculous idea offered by people (Republicans) who don’t want to talk about the real issues – that America is awash in guns.

“I would never carry a gun in a room with children or young people,” a teacher told me on Thursday, as she took a deep breath and walked to a school that expects more teachers every day. . “I also can’t imagine being the parent of a child in a classroom where the teachers have a gun.”

So the same people who don’t trust teachers to choose which books to assign to their children or to talk with them about gender identity also want them to be trained in crisis shooting?

Teachers are outraged at the thought of arming themselves in classrooms.

The solution is not to secure schools or arm teachers. Or buy Kevlar-lined schoolbags or sweatshirts for kindergartners, just in case.

The solution is us, understanding that the front line shouldn’t be in an elementary school, a football game, a grocery store, a church, a restaurant or anywhere else people go Direct. And teachers, after being asked for two years to put themselves at risk during a pandemic, in a traditionally low-paid and difficult position, have sacrificed enough.

We elect people to Congress, and pay them, to represent us all; to make sure we get a chance at life and freedom. They failed. And it cost us too much.

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