Moms Survive Being Shot at Dallas Protest -- but Their Kids Will Be Haunted Forever

dallasWhat began as a peaceful protest against police brutality Thursday night ended in what's being called the deadliest attack on law enforcement since 9/11 when five police officers were killed by snipers. But civilians were also wounded, including 37-year-old mom Shetamia Taylor, who was shot in the calf while trying to shield her sons from gunfire.

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When shots rang out, Taylor threw herself in front of her kids, saving her 15-year-old son in the process as her other three boys ran to safety. 

"She jumped on top to cover him on the ground as she pushed him in between two cars in the curb," Taylor's sister, Theresa Williams, told ABC Dallas affiliate WFAA. "All she could think about was her other three boys -- where are they at."

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Thankfully, Taylor had surgery early this morning and is expected to recover, as is another mom who was wounded last night, DART officer Misty McBride, who was shot in the arm and abdomen. (Police, meanwhile, have identified the slain suspect as 25-year-old Micah Johnson, who was said to be "upset" about the shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota.)

While it's a miracle that Taylor and McBride's lives were spared, that doesn't change the fact that their children -- as well as the children of so many others -- will be forever changed by the fact that their mothers were victims of gun violence. 

How can these families move on? How can the families of the officers who lost their lives move on? How can the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile move on? And how can we as a society ever move beyond the senseless killing and hatred that's destroying our country?

I know how we won't: By continuing to expose our children to this endless cycle of violence. As the old saying goes, an eye for an eye makes the world go blind -- and we're sure as hell getting close. The saddest part is that this bleak and pointless back-and-forth is beginning to seem inevitable, like a part of human nature that we're incapable of evolving past. As a mother, I want to teach my children that we're capable of doing better. I want to tell them that if enough good people work together to change things, then the future will be one that's peaceful for all, where equitable and fair treatment from both sides of every equation is the norm. Where we can agree to disagree without blood being shed. But I don't know if I truly believe that. I don't know if children can truly learn what peace is if they don't experience it firsthand ... if they're too afraid of their parents being shot and killed to ever feel safe.

And it's not for lack of decent parents everywhere trying their hardest to make the world a safer place. Taylor's story echoes that of mom Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, who was shot while shielding her son from gunfire during the mass shooting at Pulse in Orlando -- except McCool didn't live to tell her story. She's just one more martyr for the cause, but what is the cause? That people of all colors and ideologies are simply allowed to live? That should be a given, not a "cause," but it's not.

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It's my concern that we, as a people, will never get past the fear and hatred that motivate crimes like these. As much as I want to put my faith in our potential to achieve a utopian society, the older I get the less convinced I am that this is something we'll see in my lifetime, or even my children's lifetimes. I don't want to tell them that. I want to teach them that change can happen. But I guess I have no choice but to simultaneously prepare them for the possibility that it won't. 

At times like these, I'm not sure there's any alternative to this resignation. Still, even in the midst of our completely justified outrage at recent and ongoing events, we must remain hopeful. We must keep trying, for the sake of the next generation. And to honor those whose lives have been lost in the attempt to give peace a chance.

 

Image via James Breeden/ Splash News

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