On August 15, 1996, my worst nightmare happened. My brother, Dr. O. Preston Lowrey, III, was gunned down, along with two other professors, by a disgruntled student. My brother was only in the room substituting as a courtesy to an ill colleague.
Three young women were widowed that day; five little children orphaned. The irony for me has always been that he was a pacifist, and a kind, caring man who looked after his students very well.
My brother’s murder is no longer considered a “mass murder” by the FBI: A few years after it happened, with so many killings following, they upped the number of victims to meet that designation to five.
I have been a teacher for 32 years. In that time, we have gone from school being a safe place to holding ‘”flight or fight” practices to storing chest wound-compression packs in our classroom. Our staff meetings now include emergency first aid, planning for a crisis with local police and learning to use new emergency apps. Enough. We must change this. We must stop this epidemic of violence.