There is a bitter irony to this morning's news that the entire Los Angeles Unified School District shut down after receiving an emailed threat of violence against its schools. Yesterday was the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy, and it is a stark reminder that although tragedy has become commonplace, we still do little to prevent it unless it is labeled as terrorism.
The LAUSD may have exercised an overabundance of caution, but our children's lives deserve that caution. Who among us would willingly send our children to school when we know there could be a bomb? Terror doesn't win when we keep our children safe –– terror wins when we reject common-sense solutions.
The LAUSD reacted swiftly and smartly to protect its students today because there was an imminent threat of violence. But there is an imminent threat of violence every day in America, and guns have claimed far more lives than terrorism. Our children keep dying because we do nothing to protect them from our guns or ourselves.
It's easy to create artificial distinctions between humans and to label one group violent and ourselves peaceful. But there is no evidence that Americans are peaceful, and there is plenty of evidence that we are creating our own war zone. There may not be a clearly-defined enemy but there is a war being waged and our children are dying because we are standing by and doing nothing. ISIS is not the biggest threat to America –– we are the biggest threat to America.
Kindergartners shouldn't have to practice lockdown drills in school, and first graders shouldn't be gunned down in their grade school classrooms. If we can react to terrorism, we can react to the terror we have waged against ourselves. But I am tired of reacting from fear, and I am ready to begin the long, hard road of preventing violence and creating a world that allows our children to be safe.