I went to the same school from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. I spent more time than I can calculate hiding under my desk from a nuclear attack. Of course, if that didn’t work for nuclear war protection, there was also going out to the hallway and facing the wall while holding our hands over our heads. Either way, according to Sisters Angelina, Beatrice, Gaetano and all the rest of the Salesian nuns that taught me, we were safe. And if they said we were safe, we were.

I think if I were a child today, there would not be enough adults in the world to drag me into grade school – or high school for that matter. I would be petrified that my class would be the next one destroyed by a gun. I can’t imagine going into one of those classrooms and learning while fear absorbed my mind and body.

I think the reason I was not scared of atomic bombs but would be frightened by guns is that throughout my entire childhood, I never knew of anyone being killed by an atomic bomb. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were in the past and happened in a country far, far away. They were not us.

I especially never heard of a grade school where children my age were dying from guns. But today, kids at all levels of school are sadly aware of guns and how they can rip small bodies apart. They can also rip big bodies apart as we have seen with the teachers and other adults who tried to protect the children with their bodies. But mostly, for kids, the overwhelming fear must come from those who died at school in a classroom that should have been safe.

If what we are seeing in America today is the Second Amendment in action every time there is another mass shooting, then maybe we need to revisit that amendment. Quite frankly, it is causing more death and heartbreak than any atomic bomb has ever done to America. Of course, as I say that, I have the distinct impression that if nuclear weapons were available on the open market, the NRA would defend every American’s right to own and use one. Because, you know, the Second Amendment. It is like a false idol we are determined to follow to our ultimate destruction.

We seem to have found ourselves living in a world where all you have to do is mention the Second Amendment and everyone stops. They fear that the next words they say will cause a general scream to be heard across America to stop questioning it. Despite all the grief and tragedy it causes on any given day in America, we cannot even suggest that it be amended to make clear that semi-automatic weapons, automatic weapons, grenades – all the weapons of war – are not covered by it. No one in America needs them or can justify having them beyond using the phrase. “It’s my Second Amendment right.”

I’m sure that phrase sounds every bit as comforting to the parents of slain children as to the friends of those who died doing nothing more than enjoying a Drag Show on a Saturday night. Believe it or not, it doesn’t comfort a parent to know that their child died so your Second Amendment rights would not be curtailed in any way. If I understand this logic correctly, parents should be proud that their child’s death was simply their part in protecting America’s Second Amendment.

I’m an adult and I’m nervous about going to the grocery store for fear someone will start shooting. I could be living in the Ukraine and not have such a great fear of going out in public. If, as an adult, I feel that way, I can’t imagine how helpless a child would feel who had nowhere to run. The greatest heroism in America today is exhibited by parents who allow their children to go to school every day while praying that no one with a gun shows up in their classroom. I don’t know if I could do that.

America is a country being held hostage by the Second Amendment. It’s time to free it, and us, from that grip.