Commentary: An angry grandmother speaks out

June 8, 2022 3:07 pm
(Photo taken Feb. 3, 2021 in Memphis, Tennessee, by Karen Pulfer Focht.)

(Photo: Karen Pulfer Focht)

I am an angry grandmother

If you want to read about polls, money spent and campaign contributions, then stop reading now. But if you need to share in my frustration and anger about the continued massacre of our children, read on.

Our children have just been through a pandemic. Many of them have not been back in the classroom very long. They have not been able to go on field trips together or sit together in the classroom. School children and teenagers should be thinking about homework that is due, who they are going to hang out with during break, when they will eat, acne, who they have a crush on or anything, anything, other than being killed in the classroom.

When I married my husband, Larry, more than 30 years ago, I also married three wonderful teenagers, and a cat. Today, I am blessed with three perfect grandsons and I am happy to trap you into looking at all kinds of pictures of what must be the most brilliant children ever born.  In other words, I am your typical spoiling grandparent and I am beyond angry at the continuing massacre of our children in our schools and everywhere else.

On May 25, US News & World Report reported “If a mass shooting is defined as resulting in the death of four or more people, not including the perpetrator, 169 people have died in 14 such events connected to U.S. schools and colleges—from 1999’s Columbine High School massacre to Tuesday’s shooting in (Uvalde) Texas. That’s according to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University, and to other AP reporting.”

If I could wave my magic wand to create digital screen images, I would require every local, state and federal capital in our country to prominently display the names and photos of every child, teenager, teacher, administrator and person in our schools who was killed or wounded.

Let’s start with Washington, D. C.  Every time an elected official wants to pontificate in the U.S. House or Senate Chamber, pictures of all those killed in school shootings will be flashing behind our Senators and members of Congress. These men and women will be forced to look at pictures of our nation’s children including Eliana “Ellie” Garcia age 9, Uvalde, Texas; Steven Curnow, 14, Coumbine;  Allison, N. Wyatt, 6, Sandy Hook;  Peter Wang, 15, Parkland;  and all the other hundreds of  victims.

These pictures should remind all of us that children are dying  because we as a country are doing nothing.

Please do not come back at me about the meaning of the constitutional amendment that was ratified and adopted in 1791. I will not believe that George Washington or any of my relatives who taught me to shoot a shotgun in the small town where I grew up would support my having a weapon that is as powerful as that our military and police carry.

Teachers and school administrators have their hands full. They are expected to teach, make sure our students eat and supervise them on the playgrounds.  We look to our teachers to make sure students feel safe. Are they supposed to have guns locked and loaded in their desks or in their purses or backpacks?  It makes no sense.

So I am angry.  I am in the last third of my life. I want my grandchildren to know that I tried to do something. I can march, write letters and make phone calls. But  I honestly do not think that my actions will change the minds of any of our elected officials.  Both political parties have taken turns in the majority since 1999.  Change will require politicians with the courage to take a risk on defeat. It will require putting the welfare of the children first instead of raising money and pontificating on the news.

Lastly, while I am confessing my anger, I have to say that I am irritated with every official who reminds me that I need to pray every time there is yet another school shooting that results in the massacre of our children. I am so frustrated and angry.

Yes, I pray. I believe in a supreme being.  But, if you believe in God and you believe that we are made in the image of our Creator, then surely we have been made with the heart and brains to do something and stop these massacres. Scriptures have examples of how precious our children are in the sight of God. So, I believe that we will be held accountable because we are doing nothing to take care of the “least of these.” That starts with our defenseless children.

I want to hope that things will get better, but if I am honest, I will prepare for the worst and hope for the best.  In the meantime, I will continue to constantly pray, “Lord, have mercy. Lord have mercy.”

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Saralee Terry Woods
Saralee Terry Woods

Saralee Terry Woods is an uppity independent who ran BookManBookWoman Bookstore for more than 25 years in Nashville.