• Jeffrey Zalles

10-Year-Old Says No to Light-Up Shoes

Recent reports by the National Safety Council and the National Center for Health Statistics pegged the odds of an American being killed in a mass shooting at one in 11,125. That could explain why, in the face of so many active shooter incidents, gun violence isn’t such a high priority for many voters.

Of course, like most Americans, I’ve been appalled by each mass shooting. But as time passed, I found myself going back to being concerned about those issues that will hit closer to home. After all, the odds that I or my family will be affected by climate change, income inequality, high medical costs or a recession are so much greater.

Then I read a mother’s recent post on Facebook. While shopping for shoes, ten-year-old Maisy told her mom that she didn’t want a pair of light-up shoes. At first, Mom “figured it was because she’s going into fifth grade and they felt childish to her.” Then Maisy said, “What if there’s a lockdown drill or school shooter? Light-up shoes would make me stand out.”

Schools were once safe places where students could fret about their grades without fearing for their lives. Now Generation Z is turning into Generation PTSD. As adults, parents and citizens, we owe it to kids like Maisy to treat gun violence as the priority it is and support only candidates who pledge to take action on universal background checks, an assault weapons ban, and the elimination of the types of bullets and accessories that turn guns into killing machines.

No ten-year-old should be afraid of being shot. Maisy made gun violence a priority for me. Will she make it a priority for you?