Two young teenage boys came home having been traumatized at school. That's what happens when kids are forced to participate in active shooter drills. It makes them think, "This is real. It could absolutely happen to me."
Those boys are the sons of Marcus Grainger and they are students at Myrtle Beach High School in South Carolina, where students were put through that active shooter drill.
"When they came home, they were really scared," said Grainger. "They know how often these shootings happen in schools. And when they have a drill, it makes it real, and it makes them afraid."
Grainger, who helped organize last year's March for Our Lives demonstration in Myrtle Beach, is campaigning to end such drills, which he says waste resources and unfairly stress out teachers as well as students.
Proponents of active shooter drills say they are needed to help prepare students and teachers in the event of an attack. But Grainger argues that the answer, instead, is to enact stronger laws to eliminate assault-style rifles and high capacity magazines, plus stronger background checks and other sensible gun laws.
"Schools should be a safe place for students and they shouldn't have to worry about people coming in and shooting up the school," he said. "We are now seeing more and more mass shootings happening because Congress won't do its job and pass common sense legislation. If you care about the safety ion students, you should be pushing for gun reform legislation."
Grainger put the blame for the gun crisis on the gun lobby and the politicians who take its cash and urged that such actions be exposed and made public. He challenged lawmakers and leaders of both political parties to make that happen.
When shooters show up at a school, Grainger said, the solution is not more guns, "At the end of the day, somebody is going to get killed," he said. "The only person who can do anything about it is the police. The answer is to get less guns in this country, not more."
Ironically, my conversation with Grainger occurred on the same day that it was reported in the news that nearly 150 corporate leaders from across America sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging passage of effective gun legislation.
“Doing nothing about America’s gun violence crisis is simply unacceptable and it is time to stand with the American public on gun safety," they said.
The question is this. Will Congress -- especially the Republican-controlled Senate where House-passed legislation awaits -- take meaningful action? Or will they wait around for President Trump, whose campaign received more than $11.4 million from the National Rifle Association, to give them permission to act?