It Never Ends (a free-write)
Updated: May 16
TW: Gun violence in schools
March 30, 2023 – morning free-write
It never ends. It never ends.
There’s a secret door to a secret room with a secret book, and the children read it to their hands. Dear hands, remember what to pick up (your cell phone), what to put down (your school work), how to cover your face in the corner (don’t let them find you). Protect your ears, protect your eyes, protect your internal organs with a backwards, bullet-proof backpack.
We’ll give the classrooms q-tips and say, This is for the clean up afterwards. You can stick them in your ears. You can wipe up the blood. You can pretend we gave you safety because of the yellow bucket in the corner - that’s what helping looks like. Band-aids and toilet paper, and enough eyedrops for the whole class to wash out the nightmares. Make it fun! Like this: You can use the bucket to go Number Two when you’re in your classroom prison!
Are you afraid? Ok. You can wear your cleats to school to dig into the dirt - better traction when you’re running from the sound of the wind whipping through a propped door.
We don’t know why this keeps happening. We already told you what to do: Don’t speak above a whisper when you call your parents from beneath the desk. Don’t have windows. Don’t use doors - you have to lock those, always. Because the children don’t need us. They don’t need books (good lord, they don’t need books). They don’t need help and care. What they need is walls, walls, walls. And don’t forget to pack a gun with their lunch this morning.
Outside it is ungovernable. There’s snow in April and a gunman on campus. The first spring flowers peek their heads out of the dusted-white soil. The police officers think about driving over to have a look, but they’ve seen flowers before. They’ve seen it all before.
Each day 12 children die from gun violence in America. Another 32 are shot and injured.
Guns are the leading cause of death among American children and teens.
Black youth are four times more likely to be killed with guns than their white peers.
About 1 out of 5 LGBTQ+ youth have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property.
Since Columbine, more than 338,000 students in the U.S. have experienced gun violence at school. *
We know the facts because we wrote them. And they never end. They never end.
Written by Tate DeCaro, 3/30/23
What You Can Do Right Now to End Gun Violence (Sandy Hook Promise)
Resources for Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence (Everytown for Gun Safety)
School Shooting Resources (National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
Resources for Communities After a School Shooting (Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention
Disaster Distress Helpline Counseling Services (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration)