5 (years) and 6 (months, since the tragedy at Sandy Hook on 12/14/12)

1,686 (mass shootings since 2012)

1,941 (people killed since 2012) 

22 (school shootings so far in 2018) 

I have never been a stats person, or a numbers person, Math has never really been my ‘thing’.
However, in this case they sure do paint a picture. An ugly one. A tragic one. These numbers
are all incomprehensible and (obviously) unacceptable. And yet, they are a reality. They are our
reality here in the United States. 

So where do we go from here? A place that I know the majority of Americans find inexcusable
and downright wrong. I can tell you that 5 years and 6 months does not add distance to the
problem, but only serves to magnify it. You live through something like my students and I did
(and so many have since) and you don’t come out of it the same. Not even close. Everything is
different, upside down, twisted-terrifying. Nothing makes sense. 

They say that you can’t understand another person’s journey unless you have- ‘walked a mile in
their shoes’ and unfortunately we find ourselves at this moment in our country, at a place where
these words ring true… 

So what if you had, or could, walk a mile in their shoes…in the shoes of those 1,941 individuals,
of their families, their loved ones, their friends… 

I encourage you to think hard, reflect, dig deep…what would you do, want, advocate for, hope,
dream…if someone you loved were personally affected by an atrocity like last Friday…like
Florida…like Las Vegas…like Sandy Hook. Like every single horrific event that has occurred. 

I implore you to think for just a moment about what you would do, and then in honor of all those
lost, and directly impacted, go and do that. Just do that. 

Smile at someone. Offer a hand up. Notice the kid alone on the playground. Play with him, talk
to him. Advocate for what you think makes sense. Use your voice. Help someone in need. Help
someone. This isn’t just about guns, mental health, government, policy…it’s about all of those
issues and SO many more. It starts with me, it starts with you…with reading those numbers
over and over again and saying ‘enough’. We can do better because we can do something. We
can each do our part. We can each do that. 

Because those 1,941 individuals can’t walk a mile in their shoes any longer, but YOU can.