DETROIT – It’s just about impossible to talk about Tuesday (May 24) afternoons massacre without also thinking about another elementary school shooting almost 10 years ago when 26 people were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, including a mother who lost her seven-year-old daughter.
On Wednesday, Michele Gay wanted to curl up in a ball after hearing that another mass shooting took the lives of children inside a school building Tuesday (May 24) at Robb Elementary in Texas.
“The frustration and the emotion around this is just it’s indescribable,” said Gay. “It’s excruciating.”
Read: 18 children, 3 adults killed in shooting at Texas elementary school, officials confirm
Gay held back tears and did what she promised her daughter she would do after seven-year-old Josephine Gay was gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
“It’s about making sure that our communities have mental health resources, school-based mental health resources, the early intervention that we can provide to prevent an individual from even following or going down a path like this,” Michele Gay said.
There have been so many shootings and so little real legislative action to keep guns designed as weapons of war with the ability to do mass destruction out of the hands of the wrong people. But what Gay is focused on with the organization she co-founded with a fellow grieving parent called Safe and Sound Schools is what communities can do when lawmakers won’t.
Gay says few of these mass shootings happen as an event out of nowhere as the shooters often leave bread crumbs at the least and blare sirens at the most before they do what they do.
“It’s just hard to process,” Gay said. “It’s difficult to accept that there was information out there that this individual was sharing things that they can do to ensure that action is taken.”
Safe and Sound Schools suggests everyone take it upon themselves to report troubling social media posts and behavior or pay attention to what a troubled person is saying, and then reporting that behavior to someone who can intervene becomes one way to gate-keep against potential acts of violence.
“These things don’t just pop up,” Gay said. “Nobody suddenly snaps. That’s not how it happens. It’s going to take all of us to ensure that we don’t have another day like this.”
The mission of Safe and Sound Schools is to teach people how to do their part to keep schools safe.
“It feels like giving up,” Gay said. “We can’t let it be that families are afraid to send their kids to this wonderful place. I made a promise to my little girl that I wouldn’t, so I am going to fight this fight with those families. I’m not given up.”