I love this country. I love the state of New York, where I was born and raised, and where my husband and I are raising our almost-2-year-old daughter. When I see the images of Syrian refugees risking their lives to escape the terror in their native country or read about the Nigerian girls who were kidnapped from their school by Boko Haram, my heart aches, and surges with gratitude that I live in America. But with the news of each deadly mass shooting, the sense of security I feel here is falling away.
Even more disturbing, while my fear and my anger mount each time I learn that innocent lives were lost to gun violence—at church, on college campuses, at the movies, at the supermarket—I’m no longer surprised by the headlines. I remember the horror I felt in my gut when my mom called to tell me about the Newtown massacre as I waited for a flight at LaGuardia on December 14, 2012. Three years later, tweets and TV special reports announcing mass shootings are routine.
I worry for my own safety. Over the summer, when the lights went down at the movie theater where I went to see Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck, I wondered for a brief moment: “Could someone here take out a gun and start shooting?” That’s what happened at a Lafayette, Louisiana, showing of the same movie, where a gunman opened fire into the crowd, killing two women: Mayci Breaux, 21, and Jillian Johnson, 33.
Far worse, I worry for my baby’s safety. More than once, when ringing the buzzer and waiting for the door to unlock at her daycare, a wonderful place filled with loving people and the wallpaper of children’s drawings, my mind has gone to a grim place: “Could the wrong sort of person slip in here somehow? Could she ever be hurt at this, or another, school?” It’s happened before, many times, in many places.
It’s tempting, and momentarily comforting, to tell yourself, It won’t happen to me. Like the jolt of panic you feel when your plane lurches with turbulence and you reason with yourself: What are the odds? But when it comes to gun violence and schoolchildren, that rationale isn’t working for me. The odds, as it turns out, are sickening.
I gathered the following statistics from the CDC, the FBI, and Everytown for Gun Safety, Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control group. (It should be noted that Everytown defines school shootings to include “accidental discharges of firearms, suicide attempts, and incidents in which no involved party was affiliated with the school.”) Unbelievably, or believably, since I began writing this piece in my head yesterday morning, and compiling these numbers, there have been two more school shootings in this country. A freshman killed one student and injured three more at Northern Arizona University; another student was fatally shot and a second person was injured at Texas Southern University. What is there left to say?
The post Why I’m Scared to Send My Daughter to School in America: Gun Violence by the Numbers appeared first on Vogue.
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