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The Greatest Tragedy

My family had just celebrated my son’s first birthday when the nation’s attention focused on a high school in Colorado where two students killed 13 people.

My daughter was less than a month old when terrorists struck the Twin Towers .

I’ve been a mom for 17 years, and I have absolutely no concept how it feels like to know my children are safe.

I  can only hope the odds that they are more likely to graduate than they are to be the victims of horrific crimes.

My children grew up in a world where violence is a constant. They’ve seen news footage of shootings in elementary schools, high schools, colleges and movie theaters. They only know a life in which such events are just another blip in an ongoing story about how unhappy, angry and unstable people resort to horrible acts to express their feelings. Phrases such as gun control and school shootings are a part of their every day vocabulary.

But despite practicing school lockdowns and opening their bags for inspection everywhere they go, my kids don’t focus on what others might do to them. My son is concerned about his SAT scores and my daughter is trying to decide what song she should sing for an upcoming audition. The threat of violence is just the constant white noise that constitutes the background of their lives.

But not so much for their parents.

On the same day that a television reporter and cameraman were shot during a live newscast, my son wore a blazer to school.

He is part of the morning news crew at his school television station, and he was going to be on air.

He left the house at about 6:45 preparing for a live broadcast while at the exact same time, another live newscast had just ended in violence.

White noise for him, another reason to worry for his parent, and another opportunity for pundits, politicians and every day people to argue about how to prevent another such incident.

By the end of the day, my Facebook feed was full of posts from people arguing for and against gun control and pontificating about mental illness and violence.

And I said nothing because I’ve come to realize my words wouldn’t matter.

People argued after Columbine. People argued after Virginia Tech. People argued after Sandy Hook.

And despite all that arguing, the shootings and violence continues.

I’m not writing this because I have a brilliant idea how to prevent such events.

I’m writing this because when my kids left for school this morning, the white noise in their lives was louder than usual and my concern for their safety was heightened.

I am writing this because I am tired of everyone talking at each other, disagreeing with each other and embracing their hatred and anger toward anyone who doesn’t think like they do.

And I am writing this because my children have grown up with such behavior and have come to accept it.

And that is the greatest tragedy of all.