Today was too close to home. A student fired a gun in one of our high schools here in St. Mary's County. Every evening lately I sit in front of the TV and wonder why and how we got to this point with the violence in schools. And I think about how we are having the wrong conversations with kids. Then this morning, I woke up and checked the weather immediately, as any farmer does, and thought, 'the worst that can happen today is a little snow'. I posted to my Instagram and Facebook Story, "despite the snow, make today bright, for you, or someone who needs you."
I got up, got dressed and went about my morning. About an hour later my phone starting going off frantically about the Great Mills high school shooting.
We are a small town, this doesn't happen in small towns like ours, we are a close knit community. The hero, and the good side to this story is the cop, Randy Gaskill, who reacted to this incident with bravery and saved the lives of so many.
When I was a freshman at Leonardtown high school, the high school up the road from where the shooting happened, and where the kids were bused this morning, it was the second month of my first year and 9/11 happened. The way the school responded, the way the community came together, was incredible and remarkable. I remember feeling afraid, but safe and loved by so many around me. We hugged and prayed with each other while we watched from the TV. My sophomore year of high school I was playing in a basketball game at Leonardtown against Great Mills. We went back in the locker room on a break, and I was told by the coaches and teammates that my boyfriend, who played for Leonardtown and was playing at Great Mills that evening, died on the court a few minutes after the game started. My world was rocked a second time while at school. This story is not to recount past events, I am not going into details in this post, but to mention that the community at my high school came together, not once, but twice in a two year span that rocked our worlds. My high school was stronger, my family and friends were stronger after those events. We looked out for each other a little more. We checked in with each other and hugged and felt vulnerable around each other, as much, and as long as we needed. The support that came from those moments was and still in invaluable.
So today when gun violence in schools is national hot topic hit home, I couldn't sit back. We need to come together more. To show more love, more support, more gratitude for each other. SOONER. Don't wait. Have those uncomfortable conversations with the people we love. And pay attention to those in our community who are broken and are calling for our help.
My flowers are free this week to anyone who needs them. To anyone who needs to be lifted up.
To anyone who is going through this tragedy, and as payback to those same schools, teachers, cops who were there for me and my friends and peers through the tragedies we went through at school on 9/11 and with Victor on January 8, 2003, and who are still there today. Please message me if you would like flowers, or if you would like to be on call to volunteer to help deliver.