This Lollipop Symbolizes Exactly Why We Need 'March For Our Lives'

by Cassandra Stone
Image via Twitter/Laura Koenig

A six-year-old passed out lollipops with a message during yesterday’s march

Here’s the reality of the life of school children in America — they have to know how to stay silent in the event of an active shooter attacking their school. Kids as young as six are participating in active shooter drills, or “lockdown” drills, all across the U.S.

A photo of a lollipop, shared by a Twitter user during March For Our Lives yesterday, encompasses everything that’s wrong with our society at the moment — and it’s exactly why we need this gun control movement.

Laura Koenig, a children’s librarian from Boston, was participating in the march yesterday when a young boy handed her the lollipop.

“A six-year-old just handed this to me,” she wrote. Attached to the lollipop was a note: “This is the prize I get for staying silent during active shooter drills.”

Image via Twitter/Laura Koenig

That’s just downright bone-chilling. The juxtaposition of an innocent little Dum-Dums sucker that we all give our kids for a million reasons, and the mental image of a classroom full of first graders sucking on these lollipops while hiding from a shooter on a murderous rampage is so jarring it makes me physically ill.

This lollipop idea is so commonplace, there’s even a movement called #LollipopsForLockdown — a project that seeks to supply teachers with lollipops to “make lockdowns easier on our students and faculty.”

How did we get here? It’s beyond despicable that politicians can be aware of things like this and not be moved to push for stricter gun laws.

People on Twitter were deeply affected by Koenig’s photo, with people from all over the world sharing their outrage and sorrow.

But sure, let’s spend millions of dollars within each state budget to arm our teachers — when parents have to chip in to “arm” teachers with lollipops. Give me a fucking break.

My daughter is only two, but picturing her sitting in a classroom sucking on a lollipop during a drill like this makes me want to pack up our entire family and become expatriates somewhere much safer.

Last week, I was at a family gathering and there were about a dozen elementary school kids present. At one point, my 8-year-old nephew flicked the lights off in the basement to play video games “in the dark.” While a decent amount of natural light was still filtering through the room, it was somewhat dark down there. My nephew’s friend, who looked about 7 or 8 himself, said “oh, this is just like a lockdown drill.”

You could hear a pin drop — every single adult in the room just completely froze. My family is full of teachers and educators who are more familiar with these drills and this kind of reality than the rest of us are. But none of us in that room were desensitized enough to not feel heartbroken for a few minutes after hearing that.

Koenig herself summed up everyone’s collective feelings best: