History Does Repeat Itself – Gaines Column

My heart is heavy…

I write today as a mother, a teacher, a legislator and an aware citizen. My heart is heavy, as is most of yours, in the wake of our most recent school shooting. I so desire to hug all the parents of the 19 children who were killed and I want to reach out to give my condolences to the families of the two teachers. I switch from bring mournful to being angry. This should not have happened.

When are we going to pass legislation that will require stricter gun control laws on a national level? When are we going to do something about our weak mental health system? When are we going to stop bullying in our schools?

I was Iowa Teacher of the year in 1999 when Columbine happened. I spoke in schools all over Iowa about it. I worked with administrators, teachers, and legislators to create strategies to unveil the root of the problem so that we could work to prevent another tragedy like it never happening again.

But here we are 23 years later, still bemoaning a series of school shootings that have occurred on a regular basis since then.


It is beyond belief that Congress has not addressed school shootings appropriately in this amount of time. The safety of our children should always come first. EVIDENTLY IT DOESN’T.

This is what both angers and saddens me the most .Laws to stop school shootings should have been passed years ago. We should not hear on the radio, see a special news report on the television, or get a text on our phones like we did on Tuesday, reporting that nineteen 4th graders and two teachers had been shot to death.

As the days pass, we will learn more about the background of the shooter, moments leading up to the massacre, and biographies of the 21 victims and their families. We might even hear how schools across the Country are evaluating their emergency plans to keep their students and teachers safe during an unexpected school shooter incident, and we may hear about a degree of negligence somewhere during the event that just happened.

This too shall pass, and in the weeks, months, and yes, even years ahead, we will talk about the tragedy at Robb Elementary with a sigh while the families of the victims will continue to try to manage the aftermath of the horror that ultimately changed their lives forever!

We, as American citizens, as parents, as educators and especially as politicians must put a stop to the repetition of history. We must realize that change is in our hands.

We must take responsibility for the lives that have been taken, the families that have been splintered and the communities that have been unsettled. We must wake up, forget the power and financial gain of being backed by the gun lobby and pass legislation that protects our children from dying at school!!!

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