Texts from my daughter
Sunday, April 1, 2018
Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday.
I left work early and drove to my daughter’s high school. The radio was on NPR and early details about the school shooting at Parkland were being reported.
It was my daughters’ maiden voyage, the first time they drove to school by themselves. My older daughter passed her driving test and got her license about a week prior. New to driving independently, I figured they had left a light on in the car accidentally and drained the battery. On the phone they were embarrassed, panicky and anxious. I reassured them that it was OK and that these things happen; the car probably just needs a jump and it will be fine.
I went home first to find the jumper cables from the utility room in the garage. When I arrived at the school parking lot, they were relaxing in the car. To their discontent, I made them open the hoods on the cars, place the jumper cables and start the car. (It started without having to start my car). They also learned how to remove the jumper cables and close the car hoods. My older daughter thanked me. I think my younger daughter was embarrassed because a friend was looking on as she worked on the car.
My son and wife had dinner ready when we got home. I don’t remember what it was but I’m sure it was very good. After dinner there was protest, arguments and negotiations (as there always are) about who was going to clean up. Eventually, with the kitchen cleaned, we turned on the news.
The images showed students cowering in fear as they sought shelter under their desks, and the AR-15’s deafening boom erupted with tear-inducing truth that these sounds were killing high school students.
The past, present and future for so many lives shattered forever. (This is where an appropriate hashtag should go, but there is not one)
The next week, my daughter was crying before going to school. She was not crying about a boyfriend, a grade, acne, gossip, peer pressure, prom, popularity, the SAT, or college. She was crying because she fears for her life if she goes to school.
I do not have words of reassurance. My answer was for her to stay home, however my daughters left for school while I was discussing with my wife.
We do not need a “deal” on school safety. Our children’s future is not left to a deal. Our country, the American Dream and our future do not depend on a deal.
What is desperately needed is understanding, negotiation, consensus and compromise. My hope is that there will not be one declared winner but that through compromise and agreement we can all win.
The NRA, Republicans, Democrats and Donald Trump are not able to do anything but put on shows and displays. To do nothing and wait until the next school shooting is unacceptable.
My daughters are not reassured by the thought of someone running into the building to save the day. Will improving background checks and instilling common sense gun laws stop all shootings? No.
If there is the possibility of preventing one mass shooting, to prevent the senseless loss of one life it is our obligation and responsibility to take action.
I was happy to receive the texts from my daughter on Feb. 14, 2018. No one should have to receive texts like the ones sent out from a school in Florida on the same day. #neveragain
Eric Meyer is an Ayden resident and physician assistant who practices in Greenville.