I let my daughter get away with a great many things.
Chocolate bars for breakfast. Endless hours on her iPad. I don't ask her to dress herself or feed the cats or any of myriad things someone her age could be doing. I take her to school every day, kiss her on the head, tell her I love her, and head off to work.
With a sense of foreboding.
I try very hard not to fight with her, but inevitably, when I put my foot down, there are heated exchanges. I let them cool off, then I apologize profusely.
I do all this for one simple reason: I don't want her last thought of me to be a negative one.
Oh no, it's not that I have cancer, or I'm planning on running off an leaving my family.
No. It's much darker.
74 school shootings in the time since the Sandy Hook Massacre have left me with the foreboding feeling that one day, I will drop her off... and that will be it.
My parents never had this worry. Their parents never did. And so on. But I... I live with the thought, brought more prominently forward in my mind every day. The thought that my nation, the one I am so proud of, has gone so far off the rails that hundreds of thousands of people have access to military-grade weaponry and ammunition, and when the pressure of their torment reaches a fever pitch, they will wander into my daughter's school and kill her.
What does that say about us? What has our nation become that the almost daily reports of people wandering into schools and malls and military bases and shooting themselves and others does nothing to bring our collective blood to a boil? What does it say, that we throw up our hands and continue to let legislators backed by the fear-monger, gun-worshiping groups in this land run the show?
It says we are in trouble. Unless we DO SOMETHING. NOW.