When gun laws supersede the safety and preservation of precious life, we are no longer a civil society.  We must begin to place more value on human life and the casualties that are a result of a weapon that has the power to deem a child unrecognizable to their family members.

To think that a child could only be recognized by the shoes she wore on her feet as a result of the damage caused by an AR 15 rifle is something no mother should ever have to experience.  As I hear of the destructive power of this “machine gun”, I am reminded of the image of Emmit Till, and his mother’s courageous actions to show the horrors of the murder of her only child.

A weapon such as this, has one purpose, to destroy everything in its path. How can we as a nation justify a weapon of mass destruction as a form of protection? Our laws are full of contradictions. An 18 year old can legally purchase a weapon of mass destruction, but they cannot purchase liquor?  They cannot operate a motor vehicle without a license and training, yet they can purchase a weapon in a sporting goods store without any confirmation of a person’s ability to make sound decisions when handling a weapon that has the capability to kill people quickly, and in mass numbers. Are these the kinds of sports we want to engage in as a nation?  Where our children are the targets, and their educators are the shield of protection.

The police officers were well aware of how destructive these weapons are, and they feared entering the classrooms where the children pleaded for help. We must tell our elected officials that we will no longer tolerate their cowardice and neglect of our precious children and valliant educators.

Time and time again, teachers are called heroes because they died trying to save their students from senseless acts of violence yet, the US has the highest incidence of this type of catastrophic event in the world, and not enough is done to prevent  this from occurring again.

As Americans we must ask ourselves if this Is this the legacy we want to leave our children?  If not, we must act to bring about change. Our precious children and their heroic educators deserve better.

Esther Mateo-Orr, Equity Specialist and former classroom teacher at Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.  

Esther Mateo-Orr