The news of another mass murder occurring in a school just before Christmas once again frustrated, angered, and mostly saddened me.
I was a cop for many years and I am so thankful nothing like that ever happened on my watch. But as a community policeman, I was always quick to remind the public that the society we have is the society we deserve.
I resolved this year to be part of the solution to school shootings, and other mass murders such as the one on the Queen Elizabeth Hwy last Christmas.
After 9/11, North Americans celebrated firefighters like never before. Always an admired profession, firefighters found themselves special guests and VIPS at just about every kind of social event you could imagine. Our military has been adored since we first put boots on the ground in the Middle East. Canadian soldiers particularly did the heavy lifting for most of 10 years. Yellow ribbons, and expressions of thank you came from all over the country. And rightfully so!
I am suggesting there is another group of professionals who deserve the same homage. Teachers has shown us in every instance of school violence that they love our children, and will risk their own lives to protect them. In every instance of extreme school violence, teachers have remained calm and carried out lockdown plans. They have often as not saved many students’ lives, and in too many cases, have made the extreme sacrifice.
Soldiers, firefighters and cops all know what they are signing on for. Teachers are not signing on for the same thing. Yet, they become the front line all too often. And they do so willingly. They deserve to be held in the same high esteem as soldiers and firefighters. They deserve to be admired for their bravery.
I have two children who are teachers. I spent a lot of time with them this Christmas break, and I was thankful that such horrific incidents are very rare in our country, because I know what they would do if they were amid such an unthinkable act of cowardice. For the next month or so, when I meet a teacher, I intend to look them in the eye, shake their hand, and say “Thank you for what you do, and for your bravery.”
I would encourage all citizens of Alberta to do the same. Especially cops, firefighters and soldiers. It would mean a lot coming from them.