By Charline Spektor (with permission). She was the owner of Bookhampton stores and is now a Grandma.
My grandson began public school kindergarten a few weeks ago. He is so excited, and he comes home to tell “the best thing that happened today.” The other night at dinner he began: “Today in school we had a drill. It’s called lockdown. I thought it was lockup but it’s lockdown.”
None of us moved. And he continued. “We’re getting ready for a bad person who can come in and want to hurt us. The drill is you have to listen. That’s the drill. Listen. Don’t talk. Go into the closet. You have to go into the closet. If you don’t fit in the closet you have to go into your cubby. And you can’t say anything. And there can be a lot of noise. Close your eyes. Don’t say anything. Even if you have to pee. That’s okay. The drill is you don’t move, you don’t talk. Until someone comes to say you’re safe.”
My grandson just turned five. He is the most beautiful, wondrous gift on earth, as are all of our children, precious to us beyond words. As he told us about the lockup, lockdown drill, my daughter pressed her fingers into my hand: Don’t speak, don’t cry. And my daughter-in-law said, “Angel baby, you are such a good listener, I am so proud of the way you know how to listen. Did you go into the closet?” My grandson nodded. And then he said, “Ahma, did you ever have a drill like that? The kind where you had to be ready for someone bad to come in? Talk about it.”
Talk about it? Talk about what it means that we have created a gun-loaded society where sociopaths can be armed and murder children in school? Talk about what it means that children in kindergarten are being prepared for murder? Talk about the teachers who are teaching how to hide from bad people with guns, preparing children to be assaulted by people who have guns. Murderers with murderous intent who have guns.
I want to ask every single person I know: is this what you want for our children? Do you want our children having lockdown drills? Why didn’t we have lockdown drills? Because gun money was not controlling our country and our politics. Our childhood was not awash in the nightmare of gun-holding murderers. And yes, it is political. And yes, we have been sold and played, and our children’s lives have been put at risk.
We cannot afford to be silent for one more minute. I sat silent as my grandson told me the truth: This is what we have allowed our country to become, a freak show of random violence.
Talk about it? I wanted to say please forgive me. Forgive us.
The cash-and-carry politics of this country corrupted our moral intelligence. Our communities of silence have failed our children. We are facing a midterm election, and one of the remaining opportunities to speak up. Lee Zeldin co-sponsored a bill that permits concealed weapons to be carried in New York. When Zeldin sold out to the gun lobbies, he kicked open the door to the assault of our children.
Who the hell is responsible for my small grandchild being drilled for the day that an armed killer opens his kindergarten door? It’s political. I am voting against Lee Zeldin. I am voting for Perry Gershon.
Courage. Vote for our children. VOTE GERSHON. Please share.