I Would Die For Your Kids, But I Shouldn't Have To

by Nicole Holladay
A brunette woman with her hair tied up in a ponytail, wearing a white shirt and a yellow top
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Everyone is talking about it. So let’s talk about it.

I would take a bullet for your child, mama. As I write that I’m teary eyed because I can see my 8-month-old baby playing on her mat. I would protect your child with my life. I love them, and you trusted me with the most important thing in the world to you. I would die protecting your child, but I shouldn’t have to.

We have lockdown drills. Procedures in place. But what is a locked door to someone with a gun? It’s just a sign that a class is inside hiding. Stifling cries. Praying. Panicking. I’m fairly certain every teacher has their own real lockdown plan. Are there closets large enough? Can furniture be moved in front of the door? Can we make it to the tree line from the windows?

Instead of practicing for a horrible event, how about we work on preventing it? How about we look at our gun laws. Is there any reason someone needs an automatic rifle? Just because they want one? Well, I want to live. I want my 33 students to live. I want my baby to be able to go to school when she’s older… and live. Why should your right be more important than my life?

“Guns don’t kill people…. people kill people.” What if these disturbed individuals didn’t have the means to take out a dozen people in the blink of an eye? Even if they decided to commit an atrocious act, wouldn’t it be better to limit the reach of their hate and their bullets? The world will never be perfect. There will always be tragedies. But just like those who sit by and watch bullying without stepping in, isn’t continuing to watch these horrific events unfold and not taking action just as bad?

“I have the right to bear arms.” What do you need to bear arms for? Protection? Get a handgun if you absolutely must have a gun. I highly doubt you’ll ever find yourself in a situation where you’re facing 25 home invaders at once. If you do, your odds aren’t good no matter what firearms you have. They probably have them too — and 24 more of them than you do. For fun? Shoot a regular rifle at a target. Although, I do feel like you could find other means of having fun but… either way, I’m certain you don’t need a semi-automatic rifle.

“The Constitution says so!” Does it? Does it say we have the right to bear mass-shooting weapons? I’m fairly certain they didn’t exist at that point. Should we also be able to own grenade launchers as long as we have an ID? That sounds silly, right? So does us owning an AR-15. No civilian needs that.

“Drugs are illegal and that hasn’t stopped drug dealers!” While that is true, I imagine it has greatly limited those choosing to deal drugs. It has limited the availability. You don’t swing by Walmart with your driver’s license and pick up a bag of cocaine along with your kale. Once again, does that sound crazy? Yes, but so does picking up an assault rifle at Walmart. While making it illegal wouldn’t make it impossible to get, it would make it harder and that is a step in the right direction.

The direction where we see fewer thoughtsandprayers hashtags. Fewer shooters’ psychological profiles being done far too late. Fewer articles listing the red flags a shooter displayed. Fewer failures of our systems.

I went to a college with a mass shooting. One of the girls in my class was killed. She used to be an Army contractor, but her parents wanted her to have a safer job. She was getting an elementary education degree. It was so upsetting that what should have been a safer path is what ended her life. Sadly, it continues to be a threat to teachers everywhere.

I came home and hugged my baby a little tighter. I will go in next week and hug my kiddos. I will worry any time I see the alert system lights come on, but I won’t show it. We will follow our procedures for drills hoping that they take them seriously, but not fully understand exactly what that means. My first graders say “in case there’s a bad guy” and that’s as much as I want them to know.

I don’t want my 6-year-old students going home thinking “I survived another school day. I didn’t die today.” We should do better for them. What is more important, your right to own something or a child’s life? Think about it, America.