Threat of school shootings hardens kids

After the 1999  Columbine massacre, which left 13 dead, children couldn’t just attend school anymore. Survival training became part of the curriculum. 

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June 14, 2022 - 3:12 PM

A memorial for Robb Elementary School shooting victim Tess Marie Mata, 10, at the town square in Uvalde, Texas, Saturday, May 28, 2022. (Elias Valverde II/The Dallas Morning News/TNS)

When the voices of 70 elementary school students flooded the speakers of Busch Stadium in St. Louis last week, I was haunted by the ghosts of my own childhood fears. Four days earlier, 19 children about the same age were murdered in their own classroom, along with two teachers, at Robb Elementary School in Texas.

As the students’ rendition of “God Bless America” echoed in the stadium, it no longer felt like I was in the land of the free. The melody seemed a chanted message that no matter how devastated we were about our murdered children, we could still be brought to our feet by any plea for heavenly blessings. I could feel my 8-year-old sister’s small frame beside me. I knew she was safe here with me, but what would happen when she returned to school?

As I stood in silence beside my sister, I felt an overwhelming need to protect her as I thought about the slaughter of May 24. One Uvalde girl in particular dominated my thoughts.

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