Every morning, my daughter goes off to kindergarten, much like Renae Hall’s son Jacob, 6, went off to school last Wednesday. On my mind this year are noting things like the date for the school pumpkin fair and helping my little girl with her homework—like watching her as she carefully writes the tricky letter N, upper and lowercase. I imagine our schooldays are as ordinary and sweet at this innocent age as they were for Renae Hall and Jacob—until last week, when a young teenage shooter, also somebody’s child, came upon Jacob’s class in Townville, South Carolina just as they went out for recess, and opened fire.
I don’t believe I need to write what happened next—unless you have been avoiding the news completely, you know that after several days in critical condition, Jacob died this weekend. He was, as his mom said in an emotional statement, 6 years, four months old.
I’m weary of living in a country where children shoot children—where children’s lives are taken so young, and their grieving parents mark their time on this Earth not just in years, but years and months.
The parents of Sandy Hook Promise, who understand the pain of losing a first-grader to gun violence, responded to this most recent tragedy: “We are heartsick to learn about the death of six year old Jacob Hall, one of three shot, including his classmate and their teacher, at Townville Elementary School in South Carolina on September 28th. Jacob was a happy boy, who loved to go to church and school. He was shot on his way out to the school playground.
“We know firsthand the anguish his friends, family, teachers and classmates are facing. This didn’t have to happen, it should not have happened, and we are deeply saddened to add Townville, and any town, to the growing list of American communities forever touched by gun violence.”
Yesterday, my daughter picked out her Halloween costume.
It’s reported that on Wednesday, Jacob will be dressed for his funeral in the costume of his favorite superhero.
When will it stop?
Gail O'Connor is a senior editor at Parents and a mother of three. You can follow her on Twitter @gailwrites.