Following last week’s elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, you might still be experiencing some pretty loaded emotions.
We asked: Are you a parent, feeling sickened by yet another massacre at a school? Can you not stand to think about the unimaginable -- what school will be next? What if it were your family?
Are you an activist, hoping this might be the incident that finally spurs change? Are you a teacher, worried about your own classroom? Or are you thinking of even more solutions, wondering what could feasibly be done that would actually make a difference?
We provided a form, requesting to hear from you, if you were comfortable sharing. And the answers are now in. (There’s still time to leave a response, by the way, if you’re interested). We’ll drop the link here and include that form once again at the end of this article. All answers go to the same place.
The idea was, it might feel good to take a breath, and release some of your thoughts and feelings -- rather than getting in social media arguments with strangers. It’s a hard thing to get your head around: A gunman who killed 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School last Tuesday. How did this happen in our country?
Here’s what you had to say.
In a word, tell us how you’re feeling this week.
Many responses included the words ...
Anything you’d like to elaborate on?
What’s the part you keep thinking about? Or what do you wish other people knew, from your perspective?
“I live in Texas, and this is too close to home. What is happening is insane -- babies dying and not safe at schools. What we are doing or not doing isn’t working, so we need to change it.” -- Mary; San Antonio, Texas
“I’m so angry that the world has come to this. We can’t feel safe anywhere anymore.” -- Anonymous
“I am so angry at our politicians’ inability to do anything to help decrease these mass shootings. All they do is argue, point fingers at each other and refuse to do anything. How many more people have to die?” -- Amy; San Antonio, Texas
“Why are people allowed to buy war weapons? For what?” -- Anaeli
“Having lost a child I understand the pain. I wish less parents could understand. A parent should never have to know this pain.” -- Ellen; Port Huron, Michigan
“(I keep thinking about) the kids in the classroom -- how scared they were, seeing the gunman walk in and start shooting, and all the trauma that those who survived have to live with.” -- Jasmine F.; San Antonio, Texas
“We need to get past the insanity of blaming inanimate objects for the action of disturbed humans. History has shown clearly that human violence has always existed from the beginning of time, so it seems logical that better school security combined with better mental health services is the best course of action.” -- JS
“I’m heartbroken that this happened in such a small community with nothing but babies who just wanted to grow up and see the world. I keep thinking about the anxiety that will fluster me when I send my child to school next year. Change needs to happen. ... As a first-time parent, this terrifies me to my core.” -- Anonymous
“I’m angry, incredibly broken and incredibly terrified for my children and other family (members’) future. I feel guilty that I got to grow up in the ‘90s without these fears, and that my parents didn’t have to worry about sending us kids to school. Why do I have to worry now? Why are my kids worrying? Why am I telling my children to keep their phone in their pocket at all times at school? Please tell us there’s an end to this. My heart hurts so bad for the families involved. I cannot take their pain away. I cannot relate to their loss. I’m doing everything I can to contribute to change. I don’t have any money ... but the one thing I can do is vote. That’s the only voice I got.” -- Zachary; Jacksonville, Florida
“Where is the mother and father?” -- Anonymous
“There is no reason why people should be allowed to purchase a military assault rifle. This is not the Army. What do you think people who purchase these weapons of mass destruction will do?!” -- Robyn, Michigan
“How can I put my faith in the police to protect me after what I saw?” -- Anonymous
“I’m unbelievably heartbroken that this has once again happened to our children and families. (I’m experiencing) incredible disbelief that we have no leadership to strengthen background checks, and I’m wondering how they worry about the unborn, but forget the living. ... Arming in schools is not an answer.” -- A mother and former teacher
“I’m praying for the victims and their family, but nothing is done to change the horrible events from happening. The phrase ‘praying for’ is becoming so passive, that it is almost better to say nothing at all. I wish conversations about change could be had. The ability to have open dialogue and discussions using reliable research to explore how to reduce the number of these horrible events from happening is needed so badly. These events need to not be political, but active in healing and preventing. There is nothing political about innocent people, innocent children and Americans being (killed) on a continuous basis like this. America is the only country with this problem, and the fact that no one is looking at how to fix this problem is so exhausting.” -- Jason; San Antonio, Texas
“It’s a different type of hurt and anger when it hits close to home.” -- Kristina R.
“I have grown up in Texas my whole life. This incident wasn’t because of any gun problems, simply someone who was extremely evil and mentally ill. It is heartbreaking beyond words. I send all my prayers out to those affected in my family’s second home, Uvalde. Now I will say, we are huge advocates of the Second Amendment. We have the right to bear arms. My family and I have owned guns all our lives and NEVER EVER had a thought like this cross our mind. It is those who are mentally ill, depressed, sad, mad, or angry and don’t speak on it. Those are the ones who put themselves or others at risk when having a gun.” -- KB; Houston, Texas
“I’m a high school student, and knowing that if I were ever in a school shooting and the shooter started blasting the room I’m in -- the cops could be outside our school hearing our screams and not do anything about it, and that would be OK, (is unfathomable).” -- Anonymous
“I’m confused (as to) why our government, president, Walmart, heck, even famous sports teams and people have security and guards, BUT not children.” -- Seara; Anderson, Texas
“This country is not my country anymore. I fear it never will be.” -- Ryan; Jacksonville, Florida
“America is the only country where this continually happens, and we’ve done nothing to stop it.” -- Anonymous
“The increasing amount of violence in this world (is) extremely draining. Everywhere I go, it’s tragedy after tragedy. This can’t be good for our health. Becoming almost desensitized to violence should not be a thing. Absorbing traumatic events in a blink of an eye and getting live updates cannot be good for our collective mental health. ... COVID, food shortages, formula shortages, cost of living at an all-time high, and an increase in gun violence is scary, and it really leaves a lot of us with a hopeless feeling. I feel like I’m in fight-or-flight mode 24/7, and I know constant stress like that cannot be healthy for the mind nor body.” -- Eleana; San Antonio, Texas
“Watching people like Beto use dead children to try to make a viral moment to help him get elected is disgusting.” -- Anonymous
“I am a teacher. I wish there was more mental health support for students. I am very sad that schools are no longer safe havens. We deserve to be paid more. Students should be safe while learning.” -- A teacher in Detroit, Michigan
Thank you to everyone who participated. People were given the choice how to self-identify, which is why you see some names, some initials and locations, and others who’d rather stay nameless. Answers at times were edited lightly for grammar, brevity and/or clarity.