I never knew cornstarch could be so scary. I have used it to thicken gravy, but I would have never considered its abilities to lock down a school.
But behold... it is indeed that powerful.
A few weeks ago, I headed to my kids' elementary school campus and, while in the carpool line for afternoon pickup, I saw a notice on Facebook that announced there was a police presence on the high school campus. Fifteen minutes later, one of the other elementary schools within the district was covered by emergency vehicles as well.
My heart sank. All I could think was, "please, I just want my babies in my truck. NOW."
It would be over an hour before the details would be released. Someone, somewhere, sent a white powder to several school in the Dallas metroplex. More was found in other states. Packages were sent to museums, businesses and banks. Weeks later, packages are still being delivered to daycares, schools and churches.
The powder is cornstarch.
Teenage gunmen I am pretty used to. I grow cold to the nightly reports of bullied kids fighting back. But in my mind, you have a chance against a gun. As cold as it sounds, more kids will walk out of the school doors than will be hit by bullets. (Which is all well and good unless YOUR kid is the one in the crossfire.) Statistically speaking, you have a better chance of dying in a crash on the way to school than by being hit by a bullet while at school.
But, white powder... that is another problem all together. A release of that nature has a much higher casualty rate, I would think.
My motherly instinct immediately went into protection mode. Homeschooling actually crossed my mind. But then another story hit the headlines when an explosion occurred at a retirement home that happened to house a meth lab in a back room.
There is no "safe place" any more. A loon could walk into Walmart with an automatic weapon if he wanted to.
I am uncomfortable with the fact that I may have to teach my kids to not run in a straight line if there is a gunman on their campus before I have to teach them about sex. When I was growing up, my parents worried about me getting in a fistfight after school. Now parents have to worry about guns and knives in the school cafeteria. My parents worried about cigarettes and alcohol. Now there is meth in the locker room.
Where did we go wrong? And where do we go from here?
When gravy thickener at an elementary school begins looking like a terrorist threat, it is time to rethink our parenting strategies. We can't just turn off the news and put our heads in the proverbial sand. We have to come up with a way for keeping our kids safe that doesn't involve gas masks and bullet-proof vests.
Living in a trailer in the woods is looking better all the time.
Follow Jamie Anne Richardson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JAnneRichardson