Gun Violence: One Teacher’s Opinion
Dixie Miller Goode is an author and Del Norte County teacher.
I don’t advocate ending the right for American citizens to own guns. I do live in a small town where my husband and I have worked with children in the schools for 29 years. We haven’t had a school shooting here, YET, but we have seen a lot of gun violence impacting our students…
1. I’ve been outdoors at a book picnic when a call came that there was a person with a gun in the woods bordering the school and we’ve all had to get up and go lock ourselves in, except the kindergarten teacher I shared a classroom with who was handed a walkie talkie and told to walk the perimeter.
2. My principal had a student’s father point a gun at her head and threaten her because he didn’t like the special ed. recommendations.
3. I’ve had two different, unrelated students who were in the home when a parent shot the other parent to death.
4. I’ve had to stay locked in a class with junior high severely handicapped students all day long after a 12 year old girl was discovered and shot dead while here in the witness protection program. The same time her mom was shot in the head and the man finally killed himself before the lockdown was lifted.
5. A girl at my husband’s school was shot and killed by her brother.
6. Another student was shot and his body dragged and hidden even before he was dead.
7. A third grade, emotional student, told me of his plans to shoot me in the head, and when police went to talk to his parents they discovered several loaded shotguns leaning against the kitchen cabinets, “Ah, don’t worry. It’s duck season.”
I could keep going but you get the idea. I don’t like taking away rights. I loved guns as a child and dreamed of being another Annie Oakley. One of the only times I got seriously mad at my Dad was when he wouldn’t let his friend, and amazing marksman, Bob Edgar shoot a balloon out of my mouth. But what is happening with American kids and guns isn’t ok to just ignore. We need to listen and we need to talk and we need to stop being so afraid of each other that we won’t work together for the children.
I wish I had THE one magic answer… I have a lot of feelings and ideas but the main one is why I don’t delete people from my list of [Facebook] friends when we don’t agree. We need to listen, to listen to those we disagree with even more than to those we agree with. To listen to the kids, especially the ones who might be feeling angry and hopeless and disconnected is a priority, not just so that we can help them, or just so that we can report them, but because we are all human, and this world is so crowded that what impacts one of us, impacts us all. There are so many sides and so many pointing fingers, but in the end those advocating vigilante justice and martial law and those advocating taking all guns are the same, they are taking their fears and blinding and deafening themselves to anyone but the narrow band they consider to be like them. I think the real solutions lie somewhere in admitting our fears, and realizing they might be exaggerated by those who profit in keeping us separated and fearful of each other. There is a lot of power and money invested in keeping the general population at war and uneasy. If we can convince one side everyone wants to shoot up their schools and the other side that big bad government wants to steal their guns and then herd them into the gas chambers, we can sell a lot of security systems and weapons.
Dixie Dawn Miller Goode