Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Out of the Mouths of Babes

She's 7 years old, now, 18 months or more after her best friend, Jacob Hall, the only boy she'd ever kissed, the one she was going to marry someday, was gunned down in front of her, at recess. They had just started first grade.  Ava Rose Olsen is home-schooled now.
She was on CNN this afternoon, teleconferencing from a large leather chair.  Her mom was there, too, describing in agonizing detail how her happy child was now diagnosed with PTSD.  She has her good days, but she is often angry and sad and frightened for her brother, who is still attending that elementary school.

That Elementary School.  The one where she heard and saw what guns can do to someone she loved.  That Elementary School, where, she wonders in pencil to her President:
Are you going to keep kids safe? How can you keep us safe?”
Good questions, ones that the President, who watches a lot of tv (as the interviewer told the little girl), might be watching.  Did the President answer your questions in his response? NO! was her bold reply, staring straight into the camera.  What else would you ask him?  What will you do? came back as quickly as it was answered.

This could be a feel good story about a young gun safety advocate's efforts to right the wrongs wrought by guns. I could stop right here. Preaching to the choir, I picture you all nodding your heads.  No one should ever have to feel that way, especially not a 2nd grader.

But what I took away from this was her reaction when the interviewer asked her mother a question that included the word shooting.  Ava Rose's eyes widened, she put her colorful stuffed animal over her left ear, she tucked the right side of her body as close into that big leather chair as it could be.  She sat that way until something made her startle.  She listened for a moment, then stuck a finger in each ear and stared off into the distance. 

One word did that to her.  Her mom says she puts stickers over words that frighten her when she's reading; watching her on tv it's easy to believe that.... and more.  As the tears dribbled down my face, I was back on the sidewalk, holding CTG's hand, twisted up inside.... and it's been 7 years.... and I'm 6 decades older and wiser than little Ava Rose.

And it hurts, no matter where or who or when.

Keep on fighting the good fight, little one.  You'll make a difference, even if it is only around the margins.  Your true voice will resonate, loudly, clearly, personally.  You'll know what you did to right the wrongs, even if the President can't hear what you're saying.


  1. Powerful.
    Unfortunately I read about proposed legislation put forward here in FL aimed at "easing gun ownership restrictions."

    1. Oh, wonderful! Because it's SO HARD right now to get a gun. UGH.


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