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Thank you for sharing this post. I am from Canada. We have gun violence here as well, but somehow it’s always more shocking when it happens here.

When I see the stories coming from the US, I’m feeling less shocked and more frustrated. I don’t like not feeling shocked when children are dying in their classrooms.

I will never understand how owning a gun is MORE important than protecting children and unarmed innocent civilians.

I hope one day all these children that have had to live through these times grow up into the adults that can finally do something about guns. These kids really are the answer to our future. God bless them all.

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Thank you, Kim. I share the same hopes. It's just heartbreaking.

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Wonderful post. I am so sorry for your loss, and I have much admiration for how you can share, do the little things to make life better/easier, for yourself and others, and look forward to a better tomorrow. Thank you.

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Thank you! That means a lot.

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Apr 4, 2023·edited Apr 4, 2023Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

As a teacher of students with disabilities, I can tell that this is not a 2018, or even a 1999 problem (the year of Columbine). This is a community has refused to invest "in the least of US" problem, FOR DECADES! The acceptance, and/or disregard, of the suffering of all kinds people that are deemed "other" or "unworthy", fuels the collective tear-filled shrug, society responds with. I taught for 20 years. I have done so much to fill in where society leaves off, from arranging transportation to doctor's appointments, to buying Tide and spare clothes to make sure students are always clean, the shouldering of society's shortcomings has fallen TOO HEAVILY on schools. We've been discussing MH since 1999, when Dylan and Eric shocked the sh!t of U.S. We lost 26 first graders in 2012. Now tell me, how many new pediatric MH facilities have been built in your community/state? How much money has your state/county allocated to increase the number of college students pursuing MH professions? Does your local ISD have openings for counselors and psychologists that go unfilled year after year? Inside the "belly of the beast", teachers know, society is not coming to our rescue. For decades, we've fought to get more funding for kids and better pay. And what does society do, when after asking for years, teachers walkout/strike -- go ape sh!t because the babysitters didn't show up to work today. I wish our gun problem was just a gun problem. Guns are tangibles. Tangibles are easy. It's the attitudes that lead to the pervasiveness of that tangible that will haunt most of us when tragedy finally shows up casting its long shadow across our joy.

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Thank you for the work that you do. Your students are lucky to have you <3

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I'm right there with you, Katie. Thank you for sharing this powerful reminder... and for reading/quoting my essay, too. Means a lot to me, and it helps to know that none of us are ever alone in trying to navigate the fear and find joy.

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You put it so well!!

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Thank you for writing this. Thank you for sharing your Jaimie. You’re correct .that living in fear is no way to live, this is a timeless wisdom. We can though know fear as a door to walk through to its opposing forces of love and courage.

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Thank you, Ann-Marie!

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I wrote about this last week, too, Katie. https://kaciekelley.substack.com/p/the-american-pipe-dream

It's beyond infuriating and sometimes feels hopeless, considering the current political climate of this country. And mostly, like you said, it's scary to send our kids into a potentially dangerous place, especially when it's entirely possible that it could be a safe place.

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It's such a tough topic to write about. You did a great job <3

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Apr 4, 2023·edited Apr 4, 2023Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

I think every day (grandkids, 4,3,2) about how every day is a CHOICE for those in power, those who could -- maybe not end the gun violence overnight, but start bending that arc -- how they CHOOSE TO DO NOTHING, and in some cases, actively increase the number of deaths all because of some “right” they believe should be unregulated. That “right” is made up; a child’s death at the end of a gun is real.

I think about what type of person -- when presented with all the data that only concludes one thing -- makes THAT choice every day.

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Apr 4, 2023Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

"I can do what I can to not let fear get in the way of life. "

Thank you, Katie.

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Thank you, Tom! It means so much that this resonated with you.

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Apr 7, 2023Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

Katie, I admire you for being able to write and think about how your husband died. I try not to think about how my husband passed away. He died in front of me. I think of all the things I could have done differently. In my heart I know that there was nothing I could have done, but my dumb mind thinks of all sorts of other stories.

I find that people seemed way to curious about how he died. They wanted the details. It was like people who slow down to look at an accident. I was in shock so I told the details and I didn’t realize how it traumatized me. It was a lesson in boundaries. I was amazed that all I had to say is: “I don’t want to talk about it.”

I don’t know what to say about the guns. My husband believed in the right to have guns. But he said he hated guns at the same time. He had them in the safe, but he never used them. He was never going to use them. I don’t like guns because I didn’t grow up with them. I would tease him and say by the time you open the safe and load the guns, the intruder will have already shot us. We would from time to time talk about guns and we would always disagree. I would never waiver in my opinion because I’m just scared of them. The guns are still in the safe, and one day I’ll call the sheriff to take them away and they will be destroyed. But that really doesn’t make me feel any better. The real problem is fear.

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You're doing a wonderful job processing all of this, Yasi. Sending you love.

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Very real and touching newsletter Katie. It is hard to keep our feet going in the right direction when what we see and hear about is constant killing and dying. But you are right that we can't let fear dictate everything in our lives. We can't stop taking walks at parks or going to public places. We have to have faith that the higher power is in control and that no matter what happens, we will be able to grow and live on.

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Powerful piece Katie. The idea of sending our child to a school where such a thing might happen was enough to make us leave the US.

Granted, we weren’t born there. So there was less that tied us to staying. But it just seemed insane, visiting potential kindergartens as they explained their active shooter procedure, the drills, the nursery rhymes they teach children so they have the best chance of keeping safe, like songs we used to learn about safely crossing the road when we were kids.

“The chance of it happening is so low,” our friends would tell us. But we had a chance to move back to Europe. The chance is never zero, as we’ve historically seen in events like Dunblane in 1996, and Norway in 2011. But it’s as close to zero as we can be. They’re so rare that we don’t have to worry that we might drop our kids off at school one day and never see the, again: a tragedy sadly inhabited by too many parents in the US.

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I wish we could come with you, Kevin!!

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Apr 6, 2023Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

I’m so sorry for your loss. I pray for you and your family.

Everytime this happens in the US, I am struck by the stupidity of the laws and people who would allow children to die in the name of some outdated and downright silly idea of freedom.

In india, we can’t imagine losing children to something as dumb and easily stopped as this (we lose children in deep rural areas to other systemic issues like health and poverty).

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Apr 4, 2023Liked by Katie Hawkins-Gaar

As a mom of two teenagers, we've been living with active shooter drills and lockdowns since they started school a decade ago. It's terrible. They get really upset about it, and usually once a drill/lockdown happens, they can't focus on schoolwork for the rest of the day. Since the start of calendar year 2023, my kids have been through THREE active shooter lockdowns, all hoaxes, swatting, or because someone with a gun was threatening a school nearby, but not theirs. We are definitely getting numb to it all. This is just part of any given Tuesday in schools in America. I swing between utter rage and anger, ready to pull my kids from school forever, and apathy and shrugs, because obviously I CAN DO NOTHING about this. When we as a country decided after Sandy Hook that it was okay to shoot and kill children, it was all over. But I get up every day and go to work, and send my kids to school and keep my sanity the same way I did when my baby brother was deployed in Iraq and I worried about him getting killed: "Until it happens, it hasn't happened." There really is no other option.

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Katie, Thank you for writing about this. I wrote about this as well this week if anyone wants to check it out. https://pocketfulofprose.substack.com/p/how-do-we-heal-personally-and-collectively

As a teacher and a mom with two kids in school, it was hard to put feelings to paper. This December, my daughter’s school was the victim of an active shooter hoax...so Monday gutted me and opened Pandora’s box of fear. I know the little things I can do to make life beautiful and to create safe spaces for children and adults but I would like to know how we can do more to protect our children so they don’t have to live with that kind of fear. On a different note, I was struck by your feelings that you could have told Jamie not to run that race. You were supporting his dreams- and he did seek advice - what happened to him was tragic and so sad as it always is when a flame is extinguished too soon but it was not your fault. Thank you for sharing that snapshot of the love that you had with us. He was a lucky man to be loved like that and so were you.

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Katie, this is an absolutely gorgeous and profound post. My first grandchild was born four months ago in Israel, and I am always slightly anxious about her wellbeing, given the political upheaval there lately...and then I remind myself that I would be no less nervous if she were HERE, going to an elementary school where at any moment some lunatic with an assault rifle might break through the lockdown, or growing up as a teenager who goes to concerts or marathons where shooters and bombers might decide to make themselves known. Like you, I comfort myself by saying the odds are against it being MY granddaughter (or one of my five children) who is hurt or dies in this terrible way...and so we go on living and embracing joy when we can. But the big question is WHY do we have to worry about gun violence at ALL when it comes to children? Why has this been such a tough battle, to make laws that protect the kids from assault rifles, especially?

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Thank you for the kind words, Holly. Congrats on becoming a grandparent! <3

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How. Is. This. Still. Happening.

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I don't know, Amie. It's so frustrating and infuriating.

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