I hugged my girls tighter this week. We said extra prayers for protection at bedtime.
I cried as I drove away after dropping them off on Wednesday morning, especially after seeing a Texas state trooper parked outside the back watching them. He was there all day, every day this week.
I’ve never worried about sending them to school. Why would I? School is a safe place. For children who may not feel safe at home sometimes it’s a relief to get away. For some kids that’s their only source of meals twice a day.
But as the world watched the devastating aftermath of Tuesday’s massacre of 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, we learned school may not be as safe as we thought.
I cried as I read the names and ages of the children killed. My daughters are 8 and 10, the same ages as the victims. That could have been my daughter’s fourth-grade class the gunman chose to enter.
I can’t even begin to imagine the pain those families are going through. As I sat through my daughters’ awards ceremonies on Wednesday and Thursday, I remembered stories from parents who attended their child’s awards ceremony just hours before they were gone forever.
One mother said she was going to take her daughter home but she had to go back to work so she didn’t. She will forever regret that decision, but it’s the same one I would have made.
Then I was left with the problem of how to tell my children. Gone are the days where you could shelter them from tough news like murder. When it’s all over the television, on every newspaper and plastered all over social media, it’s almost impossible for them not to hear about it.
I always want them to hear things from me first, so I can control the narrative. I don’t want them to hear half of the story at school or from friends and wonder what happened.
As I told them what happened, my youngest said, “Nineteen?? That’s my whole class.”
My heart sank as she said that, and I thought of the two boys who escaped the classroom. Their lives were saved because they just ran.
Elected officials were quick to politicize the shooting of course. I don’t have a solution to the problem but I do know one thing. We will never create enough laws to control evil. Evil does not obey laws.
The Uvalde Leader-News made a powerful statement on Thursday. The front page of their paper was solid black, with just one statement: May 24, 2022. That spoke volumes.
I found out that one of the reporters at that paper lost their child in the massacre. I can’t even imagine how hard it is for the staff to cover the shooting so close to home.
Publisher Pete Luna sent an email to the Texas Center for Community Journalism on Wednesday.
“We will continue doing our jobs, but our hearts are torn right now,” he wrote.
I pray that our community never experiences a tragedy like Uvalde. And I pray for Uvalde, for the lost children and the families left behind.
Monica Faram is the managing editor of the Times-Review. She can be reached at email@example.com.