School shootings | Mary A. Okonek

In the April 2 issue of Time magazine, Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal stated that over 90 percent of all people under 25 killed by firearms in high-income countries are from the U.S.

As a teacher who spent 35 years in secondary public schools in Wisconsin I wonder how I would react to a shooter in the classroom. Would I try to deter the shooter, try to shield as many students as possible, or panic and cower in the well of my sturdy metal teacher’s desk?

Fortunately for me, I will never know, as I retired in 1999 when school shootings were a rarity, not a weekly occurrence.

I do know that the Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms. It does not, however, give any American the right to easily obtain weapons of mass slaughter.

My prayers, praises and support are with the student activists and their teachers, coaches, administrators and all school workers who support and try to protect students who now are committed to ending mass shootings.

Mary A. Okonek




  1. In 2015, 2,333 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 235,845 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. That means that six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries. School shootings tallied 239 since 2014, including those on college campuses, resulting in 138 deaths. I have to assume now that you will spearhead a national vendetta against the automotive industry and push to raise the driving age to 21. Everybody recognizes that vehicles are now a chosen weapon of mass murder.