This morning I woke up at my sister’s house in Warwick, Rhode Island and shared a cup of coffee with her and her husband as they got ready for work. We discussed the usual things. Our kids and how they’re doing. Our parents and how my Dad is dealing with my mother’s Alzheimer’s. The trials and tribulations of our jobs.
She showed me the security badge she needs to enter the elementary school where she teaches fourth grade and the key on a very long chain that locks the door to her classroom in the very real event of a gunman making his way into the school. She told me about the drills they have several times a year and we remembered when we were young, cowering beneath our desks, our arms locked behind our heads, practicing for the possibility of bombs dropping from foreign invaders.
It never happened, those bombs exploding on American soil, but at an alarming frequency these days American kids get killed in American schools by a well armed American citizenry.
Shortly after what often seems like a futile discussion, my sister left for work, her husband out the door not long after her. I packed my suitcase and thought about the domestic scene I had shared with them. The early morning kitchen, the gray sky, the trilling birds in the trees out back. The morning paper on the kitchen table and the news on the TV.
All across the country Americans were waking up and doing the same thing. Everyday we are all in this together. The struggle to pay the bills, feed the kids, save for college, earn a living, take a moment to ourselves over lunch with a friend, possibly find some meaning in our life’s work. Whatever the day brings us we leave the house each morning with the optimistic hope it will be a good day.
Then I remembered that morning a month or so ago. The morning two local news reporters in Virginia were shot to death on live TV. I wondered how that felt to the people watching that morning, just trying to get out the door, beat the morning traffic, check on the day’s weather. Do I need an umbrella? Should I take a different route to avoid that accident on the highway?
The sky darkened and rain poured down. I made another cup of coffee and sat at the kitchen table reading the Providence Journal and came across a commentary piece by Mark Patinkin that made a lot of sense. Read it and tell me what you think.
There are answers to this growing problem. We have to stop saying the NRA is too powerful. There’s nothing we can do. I don’t have time for this. We need to make time and we need to speak up. We are all in this together.