Like many of you I send my kids off to school each morning under the assumption that they are going to walk through the doors, seek out their friends, engage with their peers, attend their classes, perhaps learn a thing or two and return home safe and perhaps sporting a bit more wisdom than they had a few hours earlier when I dropped them at the door.
So I, once again like many of you, sat with an aching heart as details from this week's latest deadly school shooting tragedy in Florida unfolded.
Seventeen lives lost -- cut short in a moment's notice -- before what anyone would have expected would have been their time.
Brave teachers trying to protect children left wives and families behind. I'm guessing that as they left their homes for the morning nobody suspected they wouldn't be returning that evening.
Teenagers with their whole lives in front if them saying goodbye to their parents and siblings as my family does each morning. Parents anticipating the daily reunion with their children to catch up on the day's events. For a few parents those conversations will never be had.
Why? Because some young man with behavioral issues and strong feelings of anger decided to arm himself, return to his former school and take out his furious rage against many people -- including students whom he had never previously had contact.
I'm not going to talk about the shooter himself. He'll get plenty of press and attention as his trial days draw closer. And there's not enough words in the English language to praise the brave men and women who served as safety shields for the students in the school. Some lived to tell. Others did not. They have since been recognized. A nice gesture. I'm sure their families would rather have them home for supper one more night.
And as you might expect, before the blood could dry at the crime scene, the political forces on both sides of the firearms debate were at each others throats. The same war of words raged between school safety experts and mental health advocates. All with what they believe to be valid points and solutions which they feel will move forward the ideals for a safer school environment for our children.
I hardly feel it's that simple though. There are so many factors to be considered that heat-of-the-moment political rhetoric seems staged and more of a "Saturday Night Live" bit.
Sadly it's a combination of issues involving all of the aforementioned -- firearms, mental health and school safety -- as well as other more complicated and harder to define issues which begin behind the closed doors of whatever serves as a home for some of these kids.
It's time to put our differences and political labels aside and start putting the best minds together to find a way which make our schools a place where violence -- gun or otherwise -- is not viewed as a solution. And we need to develop programming so those people who are identified as having dangerous or threatening feelings can be cared for.
But it won't start until such time as politicians call upon experts in the respective impacted fields of interest and work with them to formulate a plan both sides can agree on without concern for who gets the credit.