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Erin Kotecki Vest's picture

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The text came from our school's emergency system around noon. Parents needed to get to the school “as soon as possible, but no need to panic” as there was a wildfire burning nearby.

Of course every parent panicked and rushed to the school only to find the small fire was already 100-percent contained by the fire department and the children were never under threat of evacuation. The school was just being cautious.

I imagine that day over and over again only because it's the call you never want to get...yet, as we know, too many parents have. I imagine what it must have been like to hear via a school emergency text or call, or the news, or a classroom parent that there was a shooting at your children's school and YOU needed to get there as soon as humanly possible.

As I rushed to get to my kids while the wildfire burned I will admit my car drove itself and went as fast as traffic would allow. The entire time my mind racing with torturous scenarios in which I found the unthinkable upon arrival.

Those Newtown parents raced to Sandy Hook Elementary and found the unthinkable upon arrival. The other end of their torturous car ride where their mind raced like mine culminated in one of those scenarios coming true. One of those awful thoughts that passed in their head as they didn't know what to expect as they drove as fast as they could actually came true.

And it is possible it could have been prevented.

Maybe that's wishful thinking on my part. But if only we had better mental health services in the United States. If only that military style weapon wasn't available to the general public. If only...if only...if only...

What we do know about what works and what doesn't work? We know that states with loose gun laws have higher rates of gun violence. We know that background checks work.

And while we know there is nothing that will bring back the children of Sandy Hook, or the thousands of others killed in gun violence across the country...we can demand our elected officials do what we know WORKS and STOP those texts and calls and drives where a parent, heart beating out of their chest, jumps in a car and rushes to their child's school hoping beyond hope to find nothing more than a false alarm.

But we, as Americans hell-bent on remaining gun enthusiasts, know better. We Americans know some of those parents will pull into that school and have to face the unthinkable.

Demand your Congressperson do something. Demand your Congressperson makes sure YOU never have to get that call and jump in your car and make that drive.

They need to know parents are through burying our children in the name of selling more guns. In the name of “tradition.” Because right now the tradition of racing down a road to reach your children, not knowing if they are dead or alive, is an American pasttime I'm willing to give up.

This post is part of the project, "Sorrow, Anger, ACTION! - A Gathering of Voices Against Gun Violence," organized by MomsRising, PICO Network, UltraViolet, Children's Defense Fund and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.


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