After the horrific news of the school shooting in Florida yesterday, I remember the paralyzing disbelief of Columbine. I remember asking, “How can this be?” over and over again as I stared at the television. I remember the shock. I remember not being able to continue on in the day. The world was different now.
The images were new.
I’d never seen students filing out of a school because of an active shooter. Even the words were new; I didn’t even know the phrase “active shooter” or “active shooter drill.”
Now, the images feel terrible but also familiar because we’ve seen them so much. I hated feeling this way as I watched the news.
Our regular, ordinary vocabulary includes words I wish my daughters never learned: school massacre, assault weapons, and lock down drills. I hate that they know how to “scatter” and not gather when fleeing a school to minimize casualties. I’m sad that I must know where the safe space location is to pick up my children in the event of an active shooter emergency.
So that’s how it feels today: horrifying but also familiar.