Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Feeling Guilty

Last night, for the first time in three years or more, I did not attend our PTO meeting at the Fitzgerald.  As the immediate past-president, I felt a little like I did when I left my kids at a party for the first time: my dear friends on the Board -- people I recruited! -- would have to make it through a meeting without me.

I know that they did just fine because, after the meeting, they sent some text-abuse from John Brewer's, our traditional post-PTO gathering spot.

I didn't go last night because I have some work-related stuff going on that has been giving me agita and because ALICE was on the agenda.  Again.  And I am still all ALICEd-out from last year.

In case you don't remember, ALICE is the response system to an armed intruder that Waltham is implementing.  I wrote about it in the Patch last year.  So, this was a follow-up meeting to the implementation.  After the Citywide PTO meeting last year, the Safety Resource Officers (Hooray! SRO's!) came to a PTO meeting at EVERY school in Waltham and parents participated in a mock drill.  Even some of our crossing guards attended the meeting at the Fitz.  We sat in a Kindergarten classroom in those little chairs and then acted out what we would do if an armed intruder came to the door.

Thinking about it right now, I think that I may throw up.

I also remember that several Waltham gun owners posted comments -- thoughtful comments -- on the Patch, and gave an overview of what is necessary to get a licensed firearm in the Commonwealth.  It was enlightening: it's hard to get an actual licensed gun here.

The problem is that it's too easy to get an unlicensed gun.  The Waltham PD recently had a gun buy-back program and 50 guns were turned in.  Also, two guys showed up holding a sign that said "Will buy guns and ammo."  They were sent on their way, and yet, I am guessing that they can buy guns and ammo at other venues.  And then re-sell them to gangbangers and drug dealers who can use them to kill teenagers in a Waltham neighborhood.

Anyway, I'm getting off track.  After the ALICE meetings last year, a parent said to me, "We prepare our kids for a fire at the school with a fire drill, even though the school will probably never catch on fire.  So we should prepare them for this, too."  And that's good logic, if a bit flawed.  Because it seems much more likely that someone will show up with a gun at school than that the school will burst into flames. (gas main explosions notwithstanding.)

Sending kids to school shouldn't require an act of faith.