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The sad new reality

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So last night the wife told me to check my texts. That’s generally code for, “I have something to tell you, but the kids shouldn’t hear.”

I assumed it was someone’s dog passing. Maybe a sick relative. A small bit of family gossip. Maybe some bad news about our upcoming visit to Florida.

Nope.

She forwarded me this, from the principal of my daughter’s high school …

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Fuck.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Welcome to the world we live in.

What, as a parent, do you do here? I mean, the obvious takeaway is, “Keep your kid home.” Which was my initial instinct. But this is probably the fourth violence-related school notice we’ve received this academic year. There was the lockdown. There was the guy running through the school’s neighborhood with a gun. There always seems to be something. And, in 2017, there always will be something.

So, again, what do you do here?

We debated. We discussed. Our daughter wanted to attend. I didn’t want her to attend. The wife saw both sides. I went to bed last night thinking she would likely go to school, and I’d spend the day living a mental freakout. This morning I woke, prepared to drive her (as I do many mornings).

“None of my friends are going,” she told me.

I took a deep breath of relief.

“So, do you still want to go?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

OK.

I played it off as no big deal. But I was happy. And yet, I was also sad and pissed. Sad for America. Pissed at whoever started the rumor; whoever made the threat. This shit is neither clever nor funny. It’s terrifying, and whether the perpetrator is 14 or 16 or 30, I hope he (it’s rarely a she—because our gender sucks) receives the deserved punishment and public shaming. I was also pissed because I know, at a base level, that she should have attended school; that giving in to these threats is, in a sense, allowing them to work.

But, day’s end, this is our daughter.

Our life.

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