Yesterday we were watching 3 of my grandchildren (my daughter’s children). The oldest just 7 (boy), a 5 year old (boy) and a 3 year old (girl going on 23). My daughter was attending a funeral that day of her grandfather (her mom’s father, my ex-wife). The 7 year old was at school, and I had taken the 5 year old earlier in the day to his afternoon pre-school class (he will will in kindergarten this fall). I went to pick them up at the end of their school day and we returned home (to grandpa’s house) around 5:00 PM. The news was on the TV, grandma Jo (which is what they call her) wasn’t really paying attention to the news, she was playing with the 3 year old.

The news had the “special report” message……….and this is when I learned 14 elementary students were shot and killed in Texas. Of course in a matter of moments the number went to 18 and a teacher. I listened and watched a few moments. I mean, it sunk in a bit as I had just picked my grandkids up from two elementary schools (the pre-school the 5 year old is not the same school the 7 year old attends, that changes in Fall).

The 7 year old (first grader), was watching and listening, very much focused. I hadn’t yet said a word to him (I was wondering if I should change the channel or just turn it off). He understood, elementary age children were involved. He asked me “Papa, what happened?”. I told him a bad guy hurt 18 kids. He asked how, ……….they were shot. He was very concerned, had not taken his eyes from the screen. I explained to him the bad guy was caught. I did not tell him he was killed, but that he was caught and couldn’t hurt anyone else. He understood that 18 kids and a teacher had died. His question: “Papa, why would somebody do something like that?” I thought for a moment, my response was “There are bad people, many people do bad things because they are sick, ill in their head, the way they think.” My 5 year old grandson had been listening to me. He asked, “Is this real?” Me: “Yeah it really happened.” Then they went back to watching their laptop and finishing their cookies.

When my daughter and son-in-law came to pick my grandkids up later that night, I told my daughter that Jack had watched very intently the news of the school shooting in Texas. That he was concerned and had questions. She said………”Oh great!”. I told her he seemed fine now, I doubt he’ll have nightmares, he didn’t see any violence himself. That it was good he had questions, that he didn’t just keep it inside and wonder/worry. When I questioned if he should have watched the news, I believe it was the right thing to allow him to view it, since he had already seen enough of it and had those questions. We can not protect our kids and grandkids from the world forever.

I thought back, to when I picked each child up yesterday. The 5 year old was escorted by a teacher to me at curbside (they know me, I’ve picked him up many times). The doors are locked on the outside. You can not just walk in. When I picked up the 7 year old, my 5 year showed me where we ring the bell (he rang it) to have a teacher come to the locked door. When we are recognized/identified she calls for the student, we are allowed in to wait, and he is brought/or sent to us. Is it all totally secure, probably not 100%. Naturally someone standing there holding guns is not going to be allowed in. But, someone (a teacher) can be endangered approaching the door. I doubt that any security system is ever going to be 100% safe. We are never going to prevent mental illness 100% either. But we can certainly limit it.

Children must feel safe going to school. One boy yesterday said he did not feel comfortable going back to class. Security at schools must be amped up. For God’s sake, we just gave the Ukraine billions for their freaking war. No one should be able to approach a school carrying a rifle (clearly visible) from any side of the building. SECURITY GUARD SYSTEM MUST BE A REQUIREMENT.


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