I believe I was around the age of 6. I had to be younger than the age of seven because we moved by then.
We had just left a family party, when suddenly we had to turn around and go back because my grandfather had forgotten something. I guess now would be a good time to mention that this house? It was next to a police station.
While my father went inside to retrieve said item, we waited in the car outside their “compound”. I guess that is what you can call it? Houses in Pakistan are gated separately, and usually a guard… guards them.
Well, I am not sure what exactly happened next except to say that we found ourselves in a crossfire between “the bad guys” and “the police” I suppose. We were literally in the middle: one of the shooting parties directly in front of us, and the other right behind us. The details are fuzzy, but the sounds of gunfire? That is not.
Did I mention that the van we were in… the door would only open from the outside? Wonderful.
I remember waiting until our dad came rushing out to open the door and taking my mom, brothers, and I back inside in the midst of the shooting.
Later we found out that the bad guys had tried to raid the police station in order to help one of their own escape that the police had imprisoned [or free him?]. There were causalities involved.
The details? What exactly happened or why it happened? They just don’t matter at the end of the day.
It haunted me so much in the immediate aftermath that I apparently stopped wanting to go out [especially at night] out of fear. One of my parents would stay home with me always. My parents say it’s one of the reasons we moved away [to Canada] in the first place. My teacher at the time told my parents that I’d blank out at any sudden or loud sounds.
Hearing the sound of gunfire as a child literally RIGHT THERE in front of you? I don’t think it ever leaves you. The surviving [and oh so young] victims of Newtown? It’s something that will remain in the back of their minds for a very long time, if not forever.
So when the NRA conjures up all these ideas about having armed officers at schools, like last week when it’s latest recommendation was for there to be guns in every school in America? I think seeing guns is the last thing these students would want.
Guns have no place in our society in the hands of an average citizen. If they weren’t so readily available, the wrong people wouldn’t have such easily access to it. Yes, I realize that the counter argument [over and over and over again] is that stricter gun laws just limit those who follow the laws anyways, and the “bad guys” always find a way around loopholes or whatnot. But if guns weren’t so widely available, that would, sort of, eliminate that problem, wouldn’t it?
I’ll be the first to admit: I, too, firmly believe that schools have to up their security system. How so? That is what we need to figure out as a community.
Back in 2009, I referenced in a post of the lack of school security and I’ll continue with that example. Walking into my former high school that day, without having to sign in as a visitor… without having to inform anyone who I was and what class I was visiting… without a name tag identifying me [as a visitor]:
I could have been anybody, and I could have done anything had I wanted to. It was a chilling thought to ponder over later how unsafe MY school was. This was MY former high school – and it needed better security.
Whether it be metal detectors, security checks, security guards. At the least, anyone going into the school should be identified and be easily identifiable [via a pass, visitor sticker, etc]. For goodness sake, we had to sign in and out AND take a visitor pass to use the restroom WHILE we wore school IDs as students.
But guns? Guns are not the answer. They never will be.
Too many possible. “what ifs”. Too many accidents waiting to happen. Preventable safety measures need to be addressed. Guns, however? Schools are no place for guns.
What would be next? Parks? Malls? Where do we draw the line?
P.S. This post is just one of a series of posts I’ve done in the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy. You can read the others by clicking here, here, and here.