Today we had an open forum meeting at work on guns and mandatory reporting in the workplace.
Occasionally kids will bring Nerf guns, or water guns, or facsimiles of firearms on the school bus. None of these are allowed on school property and therefore not allowed on the school bus. So, if we see them, take them and report them to the school security and our direct supervisors. The teachers will take the toy and if the kid wants it back he has to return with a parent. The kid is given a stern lecture by all the adults involved, and the incident is put behind everyone. It was just something that kids do.
But now, it’s different. Now we never know whether or not it’s a toy, and now, even if it is a toy, a kid could lose his life if he pulls it out and someone thinks it looks too real. So, now, the police have to be called and reports have to be filed. Now, the cops show up to the school or the child’s home and let them know exactly why his lime green water gun could get him killed. It isn’t something “that just happens sometimes”, or “no big deal”. It isn’t harmless anymore and there is very little space for understanding and gentleness in the process.
I understand the philosophy. Better they think a lime green water gun is as serious as a real gun than to think the real one is as harmless as the fake, but it’s still sad the way the world has changed. It hard to adjust to these all too common “worst-case scenarios” and to react from a place of fear. It’s hard to watch simple mistakes create such deep scars. I get it, I even agree with it because the world is the way the world is, but it’s hard.
I mourned a simpler time today.