As I get ready to return to my teaching job, and all its myriad rewards and challenges, the very last thing that I want to think about is "school shooters." Words cannot describe the horror that strikes my very being at the thought of a murderer in a school, taking lives and shattering precious trust and safety. I never ever want to meet such a person. I don't want anyone, loved one or acquaintance or stranger, anywhere in the universe, to ever meet such a person. I don't want anyone to be such a person. I want to build a world where nobody would ever consider walking into a school with a shotgun. Even though we practice lockdown drills yearly, even though I've watched policemen at my school doing a drill (complete with "victims") where they take down a gunman, I shudder to even picture an actual gunman at my school, or any school. I'm pretty sure that if I ever experienced such an event, supposing I survived it, it would be the end of me as a teacher.
But when a Facebook friend brought this story to my attention, I just had to share it.
Meet Antoinette Tuff, the woman who prevented a mass school shooting yesterday.
(The video interview is well worth watching and listening to.)
Another article that shares some quotes in print from Antoinette
What blows my mind is that Antoinette Tuff showed such compassion and empathy and love to the gunman. To someone whom she knew could kill her and/or all number of other people any second. It would have been so much easier, so natural, to react with panic or anger. But the qualities that Ms. Tuff showed instead gave her a power that no gun, body armour or security system could give her.
If I have children I want them to live in a world where there are never any school shootings. I want that fear to never even enter their heads. Hell, I want that for all children, whether or not they are mine.
Sadly that isn't the world we live in. So second best, I would like my children to know that there are people like Antoinette in the world, and to know that it is truly a better place because of people like her. I would like them to try to find in themselves the courage and compassion that she shows, although I still hope they will never need to use it in the kind of situation she experienced. I would say that I want them to know that Antoinette is a true hero, but she says herself that she is not: "I give it all to God." And that doesn't surprise me, and I respect that.
Antoinette says in her interview that she is going back to work tomorrow. People, there is hope for the world.