Land of the Free?
This brilliant PSA by Sandy Hook Promise captures perfectly the fear and anxiety we live with, in America today.
As a mother of two school-aged kids, gun violence has been an unsettling fear since the heartbreaking events at Sandy Hook in 2012. I remember vividly the dread I felt bringing my 7-year-old daughter to her 1st-grade classroom the day after the news broke. With every mass-shooting, the coil in my stomach feels wound a little tighter, ready to snap at the slightest provocation.
Bringing the kids back to school this Fall was especially nerve-wracking after a traumatic experience during a summer trip to New York. On August 6th, my family and I had a taste of what it would be like to be hunted by an active shooter. After dinner one night we took the kids to Times Square to show them the lights. While taking pictures we heard a series of loud bangs, we scanned the sky for fireworks, none were visible, a hush fell over the Square for a moment and then the crowd erupted in screams. People started running to get away from what they thought were gunshots, a very plausible scenario within a week of two back to back mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.
My family and I were swept up in the crowd and pushed into a Gap, some people fell and were trampled, but everyone kept running for cover. We ran into the men’s restroom, 15 strangers huddled in a bathroom stall, praying and crying as quietly as possible. I was ready for the end, my loved ones pressed against my chest, heart-pounding, hot tears rushing down my face, mentally preparing how I would throw my body to protect my children when the gunman came in. After a harrowing 10 minutes, the staff at The Gap told us we were safe, there was no active shooter.
We were all extremely shaken up by the experience, nearly running the entire two blocks back home, startling at every sound. A tweet I posted that night led to a New York Times reporter emailing me the next day to document the panic of the previous night.
The reporter was able to capture the collective PTSD we all suffer from very eloquently.
Imagine living in a country where a loud sound makes people think, ‘oh it must be an engine backfiring’ not, run for your life, it’s an active shooter. Both sides of the gun control argument have screamed themselves hoarse, but the deaths continue, our children are growing up with a fear of being shot to death. Is this how we want our children to grow up in the ‘Land of the Free?’ Gun safety is my NUMBER ONE priority as a parent. Please TAKE ACTION in your community, take action before you’re the next person hunted by a madman with a gun.