As the nation mourns the loss of 19 children and two teachers who were shot and killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, many have looked back to the countless tragedies that preceded it and wondered: how did allowed this to happen again?
Before Uvalde, before Parkland, before Sandy Hook, before Columbine, before so many school shootings, there was Hubbard Woods School in Winnetka.
On May 20, 1988, Laurie Dann walked into North Shore Elementary School and opened fire, killing one child, 8-year-old Nicholas Corwin, and injuring five others.
Amid scattered pencil boxes and art projects, the young students learned a terrifying lesson that day that shattered their innocence.
After running away from school, Dann invaded Ray and Ruth Ann Andrew’s house. There she injured another victim, the couple’s teenage son, Phil Andrew, before taking her own life.
“We don’t have to live like this,” Phil Andrew said Wednesday, calling the events at Uvalde heartbreaking.
“But really, it comes down to the lost opportunity of the last 34 years where we as a society, as a country, haven’t done what we need to do to keep our children safe,” he said. -he adds.
Phil Andrew had a long career in the FBI and now works as a security and crisis management consultant. He said he believed the nation needed to do more to keep deadly weapons out of the reach of those who pose a danger to others, like Laurie Dann and so many others who owned their guns legally but would never have must have had them.
Phil Andrew argues that there are ways to write these laws.
“It will look like a universal background check that includes a mental health dive,” he said. “It’s also going to include red flag laws, a national red flag law that allows law enforcement to temporarily take arms from people who pose a threat to themselves and others.”
The question remains: when will we be hurt enough to finally start working on this solution?
“The bullshit needs to stop,” said Phil Andrew. “The nonsense where we don’t look at the facts, we don’t look at the data, and we don’t think about the impact it has on the lives of our community and our children.”