Spent a lot of time today watching the news, worrying, and having that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, thinking "not again, please not again". I feel sick over what happened at VTech. I feel sick over every school shooting I hear about, no matter where it is or the circumstances under which it happens. I didn't sleep a lot after columbine, and I threw up a lot more than I liked. I am not ashamed to admit that a week after columbine, when we had a bomb threat at our school and were evacuated, after I spent three hours waiting with students whose parents couldn't pick them up; I went home and quietly got very drunk. It is not a behavior I think is productive, but I had no other skills to cope with what I was feeling.
Today I feel somewhat numb. I don't feel the fear I would if I were walking into my building tomorrow. I am not rehearsing the conversations I will have with my students tomorrow. I am not wondering if it will happen at my school. I am numb. I want to say that I know why things like this happen, but really, I don't think any of us do. I wish that schools (middle, high, college) were places where everyone felt accepted...but I know in my heart that this is not true. I think that situations like this show us that there are still people in this world who are really not dealing. How do we reach them? Is it too late?
Much has been said after previous school shootings about bullying, about making kids feel included, about watching out for this behavior or that one, but really, how well do we really know another person and what they are going through? It is hard to get through to every student, it is hard to be a teacher and reach everyone. It is harder, I imagine, to be in that position on a college campus. So what is the answer? Does it go back to childhood, is the answer in how we are raising our kids? I don't think we'll ever know.
I just can't stop thinking about it.