9 September (T minus 14 days)

1. My kids are safe
2. The other kids at the high school are also safe
3. Compassionate teachers

Those gratitudes need some explanation.

There was a lockdown at the high school yesterday afternoon. I had gone up to our local HEB on the hill before picking up the critters and as I drove by the high school, I noticed several police cars with flashing lights as well as a couple of fire trucks. I thought, Huh, probably a lockdown, and continued on to the market. When I walked back to the car with my groceries, there was a police helicopter circling the school in the distance. Not a good sign. I intended to go wait for Basil and Lauren in my usual parking spot but the access to the road past the school was blocked by two county sheriff vehicles. Traffic was becoming a nightmare so I took a back route to the school, found a place to park, and tried to get in touch with the kids. Meanwhile, the road behind the school was becoming choked with cars containing panicked parents. With the heavy police and fire department presence, I’m sure everyone thought that it was another Uvalde. I know it certainly crossed my mind. Anyway, I didn’t hear from the kids and from the tone of the texts I had received from the school district, it didn’t look like the lockdown would end anytime soon, so I hustled the groceries home, grabbed a battery charger for my phone, hopped back in the car and fought my way back to the school, where I found another shady spot to park not far away from the student parking lot. I took my phone (with charger), left the car, and walked up to the school. There were police stationed at every entrance to the school grounds and no one was allowed to approach the school. I got another text message from the district saying that all students would be released one classroom at a time and would assemble in the football stadium to wait there for parents. The afternoon was bright, sunny and HOT, and there was no shelter to speak of for the kids. I and all the other parents and guardians had to hike around the entire athletic field area to get to the front of the stadium, where we were patted down by law enforcement officers before being allowed inside. I finally located Lauren and Jane, a friend of hers, but there was still no sign of Basil. We suspected that their class hadn’t yet been cleared to leave the school. By this time Rory had gotten in contact with me to say that he was on his way to the school to wait for our missing kidlet. We actually ran into him while hiking back to the car. By the time we made it there he texted to say that he’d found Basil and they were both headed home. Meanwhile, I had to drive miles out of our way in order to get Jane home (traffic on the ring road was still being blocked by police), but the route we took was very pretty and the girls were entertained by the scenery, which helped tremendously given what they’d just been through. We made it home safely.

We still don’t know what caused the lockdown but there are various rumors, the most credible of which seems to be that some boy thought it a fun idea to bring a gun to school. I do know that one parent, a dickhead yahoo who fancied himself some sort of hero, actually DID bring a gun to the school after the lockdown started and got himself arrested. This is exactly what our kids DON’T need: an irate parent with a twitchy trigger finger, trying to emulate Clint Eastwood or John Wayne. On one hand I can understand it, to an extent. After all, the local police in Uvalde utterly failed the children at that elementary school, and I’m sure this particular dad was going to make sure that the same thing didn’t happen to his own kid(s). Still, it wasn’t the brightest of ideas given the situation.

My two bobbleheads spent more than two hours hunkered under their desks. When leaving the school for the football field, one girl in front of Basil had a weapon pointed in her direction by an officer because she hadn’t placed her hands on her head as directed. The law enforcement personnel inside the school were barking orders at the students, scaring them half to death. All of this was likely due to sheer adolescent stupidity. And yet, because of what has happened, because of the senseless slaughter of innocents in our schools, the police have no choice but to take every threat seriously; otherwise, another community might be grieving over their lost children.