“I don’t want to be an only child,” Evelyn Dieckhaus’ sister cried out. Evelyn was one of the schoolchildren slain at The Covenant Presbyterian Church School, a private Christian school in Nashville, Tenn. Little Evelyn, a third-grader, was at school that fateful Monday morning of March 27 when Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a 28-year-old white woman, entered her school freely and snuffed out her life in a mass shooting involving five other people: two other schoolchildren and three staff members.
This is the latest in the series of mass shooting incidents in the U.S.—the 89th shooting on elementary school grounds this year alone, and the 130th across the country this calendar year. It is simply unacceptable that our children are subjected to such gun violence, and we need to take a stand and demand that our children are protected.
Gun Violence Leaves Emotional Scars
“Our children deserve better,” as First Lady Jill Biden said at a meeting of the National League of Cities. It is unfortunate that there were no police officers at the school at the time of the shooting—a very sad development, which Don Aaron, a spokesperson for the Metro Nashville Police Department, admitted to, saying that no Nashville police officers were assigned there because a church owns it.
Recall, however, that the shooter shelved her plan of shooting up a different school in Nashville due to what she described as “too much security.” So, if there had been the same level of security at The Covenant School, this tragedy could’ve been averted, saving the victims’ lives, including that of Evelyn, whose life was cut terribly short.
Our children deserve better to save them from the emotional and physiological trauma that often comes with school shootings. School shootings leave emotional scars in the hearts of our children and continue to haunt them, even into adulthood. For example, the statement from Evelyn’s sister, where she said that she doesn’t want to be an only child, shows that the stark reality of losing her younger sibling has deeply traumatized her. Beyond that, other students in the school, classmates and schoolmates alike, will forever remember that horrific Monday morning, as it will always be fresh in their minds. Even if some of them decide to change or stop school in order to cope, they will never forget this.
Adrienne Battle, the director of Metro Nashville Public Schools, said they “invested considerable resources to strengthen security at our facilities in response to the far too many, far too frequent instances of school shootings across the nation over the years.” Other schools have done the same around the country, but clearly, it is not enough because school shootings have become even more frequent.
|First Lady Jill Biden commented on the school shooting in Nashville where three children and three adults were killed. She told a meeting of the National League of Cities that “our children deserve better.” Video Courtesy MSNBC/YouTube|
Suffice it to say that this tragedy is one too many and we must rise to the occasion and go beyond the rhetoric to save our children from the needless loss of lives. We must take action to make sure that our children are not exposed to any more of these senseless acts of gun violence. This means implementing stricter gun control laws and providing more mental health resources for those struggling with mental illness. We must also work to create a culture of acceptance and understanding so that our children can feel safe and secure.
So I join our First Lady Jill Biden and other well-meaning Americans in condemning this senseless attack on innocent children. Our children do deserve better, and I urge us all to do what we can to give closure to the families forever affected, provide our children with the support and resources they need to cope with the trauma of these events, and put measures in place to forestall a recurrence.
We must do everything we can to ensure that our children are not only safe but also emotionally supported and cared for. We must take action to ensure that they are kept safe and protected from these horrific acts of gun violence. It is our responsibility as adults to make sure that our children are safe and secure and that they have the support they need to heal and move forward.
This MFP Voices essay does not necessarily represent the views of the Mississippi Journalism and Education Group, the Mississippi Free Press, its staff or board members. To submit an opinion for the MFP Voices section, send up to 1,200 words and sources fact-checking the included information to [email protected] We welcome a wide variety of viewpoints.