This Time, We Can’t Afford Another Band-Aid

This Time, We Can't Afford Another Band-Aid.jpg

By Catherine Miele

Here I am in front of my keyboard – trying to cope with a myriad of emotions by writing another reactionary piece.

You know what? I’m tired of reacting.

I’ve shared my reactions to presidential elections. To sexual predators brought to justice. To political protests and to political victories. And, here once again, to mass shootings.

Yes, I’m tired of reacting, but writing out my feelings is the only way I know how to manage and overcome the numbness, fear, grief, anger, and frustration I cycle through when senseless tragedy occurs.

So here I am – reacting – again.

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to verbalize my thoughts because, no matter what I say, or how I arrange the verbiage, my words begin to feel like meaningless platitudes.

Like “thoughts and prayers” without subsequent action.

Or “we must never allow this to happen again” buried days later in the 24-hour news cycle to another Kardashian birth or presidential faux pas.

I was listening to a local radio station Thursday morning following the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting that killed 17 and wounded at least 14, and something struck me.

A woman had commented about her fears of sending her children to school and how there needed to be a way to generate more funding to place security measures and armed guards in our schools.

Not an unreasonable suggestion, of course, but I was struck by the radio host’s comment about how the latest shooting would likely cause more parents to choose to homeschool their kids.

Homeschooling: a band-aid to school tragedies.

We have become a band-aid nation.

There is nothing wrong with homeschooling, of course, and every family reserves the right to determine which course of education is best for their children, but how is removing children from our schools the answer to increasing gun violence?

Instead of asking the tough questions and discovering where we need to make changes, we are sticking a band-aid on a gaping wound that is rapidly destroying our communities.

In the interim, do we need metal detectors, armed guards, and specially trained police forces? Perhaps, but we can’t stop there.

We can’t shut our eyes to this uniquely American issue of normalized mass shootings at our schools, nightclubs, shopping malls, office complexes, and concert venues.

I don’t claim to know the answers. I realize, as a 30-something year old wife and working mom who’s simply trying to enjoy life and keep my family safe and healthy, that the issues are complex.

I know that we, as Americans, need to examine our fundamental attitudes concerning gun safety, “inalienable” rights, and “us vs. them” mentality, however.

And I know that it will get uncomfortable because sacrifices – from all sides – must be made.

Things should have changed with Columbine. Or Virginia Tech. Or Sandy Hook.

These wounds aren’t superficial. They are bone-deep. They are a threat to our future, and they deserve more than platitudes and metaphorical band-aids.

Can Parkland be the catalyst for change? Can we agree that now – not later – is the time to discuss gun control in a rational, non-fearmongering manner?

Or will this neglected wound lead to terminal infection?

Catherine is part of the Contributing Writer Network. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.

Featured image by Eric Ward on Unsplash

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