CORAL SPRINGS, FL - Over the past two months, to our collective dismay and disappointment, there has been a revisiting of the topic of mass shootings. In dissimilar, highly unrelated circumstances, several mass shootings have been circulating through the news feed as of late.
Has anyone else begun to question “why?”
I know that my own reflection and understanding stems from personal experience and perspective. Perhaps it will provide some food for thought or material for discussion amongst friends (and read to the end, so you can take action as we make our schools safe).
So why are mass shootings in the news again? Why now?
Initially, when I hear of the news of a mass shooting that occurs anywhere in the world these days, I flashback to February 14, 2018. I will always remember that day (no matter how hard I try to forget) and where I was. Thankfully, my husband and I were home when we started to receive text messages from our freshman-aged daughter Alexa. She wrote “I think I hear gunshots.” We immediately answered her back, and said “we are on our way,” and she replied, “don’t come, it could be bad.”
In Coral Springs and Parkland, our collective reality, and any supposed immunity we may have thought we had from mass violence, was tainted; shattered is more like it, actually.
Thankfully, we were able to bring our daughter home that afternoon from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The Alhadeffs and 16 other families, though, weren’t so fortunate. For the survivors and those left behind, the effects of these incidents are long-lasting and far-reaching.
Although there may not be a definite answer to the query WHY NOW, perhaps it’s best to simply examine the climate in which we find ourselves today, compared to the one pre-pandemic. I believe that the enormity of COVID-19 took center stage over all else for a while. It felt as if our very survival was in jeopardy (and for many, that was the case). The world as we knew it remained at a standstill, and coronavirus was the only topic of conversation. Is it possible that the confluence of the vaccine’s introduction, the pent-up emotions of those in quarantine, and the economic instability faced by millions created an environment ripe for uncertainty and tumult? I think the resounding answer is yes.
I am writing this as the Communications Director for Make Our Schools Safe, the nonprofit created by Lori Alhadeff after losing her 14-year-old daughter Alyssa in the tragedy at MSD.
Through this organization and our many supporters across the nation, I believe that we are on a journey toward safer schools. Let’s use this time to work together. One day, all of our children and teachers will be back in the classroom. Make Our Schools Safe will be there every step of the way.
Lori Kitaygorodsky is the communications director for Make Our Schools Safe.