Thank you, Barbara Glickstein, for inviting me to respond to the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas shooting in an interview for Healthcetera. It is a raw discussion that was recorded hours after the event as details were still unfolding. I appreciate being able to voice concerns, pleas for action, and suggestions for the next steps. As large as the nursing profession is, we are not well represented in the public square when it comes to speaking out against gun violence. Addressing safety, especially the safety of our children must be a shared value.
What is safety in an unsafe world? Where do we find safety for ourselves, our children, and our school communities? The pandemic brought how fleeting safety is to light. Mass shootings remind us over and over again how unsafe public spaces can suddenly become, especially schools.
I have lived enough decades to have a wide-angle view of history and have never felt this deep of a divide. It is fueled by what is at stake, the present and future health and well-being of our children. We are at odds with each other over issues of life and death. These are not just philosophical discussions; lives have been lost and continue to be at stake.
School safety was precarious prior to COVID19. The intersection of COVID-19 and gun violence, two epidemics ravaging our country, is school. We need to center the health and safety of our children. Mask up, get vaccinated and boosted, and for the well-being of our children, lock up your firearms. If you want to exercise your freedoms, choose safety, choose to protect children, and remember to choose wisely, our youth are watching.