Do School Shootings Hurt Any Less Because We Don’t Have Children?

Another school shooting has happened, this time in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen kids, two adults killed, more injured. Horrible. Can you imagine what it would be like to be a parent wondering if his or her child is dead or hurt so badly they’ll never get over it? Do you feel what it would be like to be the teachers, either the ones who were killed or the ones who were not and have to live with the aftermath? Do you think about what it would be like if you were one of those children trying to hide while a teenager shot people dead all around them?

Do you think about what it would be like to send your children to school every day and wonder if they’ll still be alive when it’s time for them to come home? Maybe, like me, you have nieces or nephews that you worry about. Just because we don’t have children of our own doesn’t mean we don’t worry about all the children.

Or do you think: Thank God I don’t have children, so I don’t have to worry about this? It’s okay to admit it. Whenever we love someone, we take on the fear of losing them. If you never have them, you can’t lose them.

It’s not the same, but yesterday Annie was attacked by another dog. It was terrifying. I screamed and sobbed, even though she was mostly okay, just a little cut next to her eye. It scared me so much. How much worse it would be if someone attacked my child.

The children who died in Uvalde were young, around 10 years old. Remember when you were 10? So young. Why would anyone want to shoot them? Heck, the shooter, 18 years old, was just a kid himself.

I fear young people growing up watching movies and games where the heroes get into battles and shoot all the enemies, pow, pow, pow. They grow desensitized to the pain and blood and grief that comes when real people die. Just the other day, I watched a movie, “The Adam Project,” in which a kid teamed up with his time-traveling older self in one battle after another. The kid, well-trained with his video games, got right in there, attacking the enemy until only our heroes were left standing. High fives all round. No! It’s actually a good movie, except for the battle scenes.  

I have strayed off the subject of being childless by marriage. When children are killed, is it any easier for us because we don’t have any of our own? Or do we feel the pain, too, because all the children are our children, too? Do our partners feel the same way?

I welcome your comments.


Yesterday, I visited a new shop in town and bought a children’s book. “For your grandchild?” asked the friendly woman at the counter. I can see how she would assume that. “Nieces and nephews,” I said and changed the subject.

I had just come from the beauty salon. Luckily this time my stylist didn’t spend the whole time talking about her kids with the hairdresser at the next chair. We were quiet. It was nice. I like my haircut.

Wherever we go, we are the ones who don’t have children.

Hugs to one and all.

6 thoughts on “Do School Shootings Hurt Any Less Because We Don’t Have Children?

  1. Sue,

    I don’t think being childless lessens the pain we get from the mass shootings which are all too common. I’m from Texas and I’ve been to Uvalde. Quiet nice town. And the people are nice. Last week’s shootings have taken the innocence Uvalde may have had and thrown it out the door forever. I know the people of Uvalde pretty well. They are resilient and tough. They will get through this.


  2. I think we all feel the pain of this (well, except those who actively vote or campaign against policies to stop it) but perhaps we feel it differently. You said it: “Just because we don’t have children of our own doesn’t mean we don’t worry about all the children.” That is so true.

    Parents immediately focus on how they would feel if their children were in that situation or had died. Whereas I think your post has shown that because we don’t have that focus, we go wider. Yes, we can imagine how terrifying it must have been for the parents waiting for news, but we also imagine how terrifying it is for all parents (in the US – it doesn’t really happen anywhere else), how scary it was and will continue to be for the children, for the teachers, for the aunties and uncles and friends and grandparents and neighbours, and for the community. And we think about how the survivors must feel too. I know I also think of my US friends who are teachers or have children in school, and I feel their pain as well. I’m not saying parents don’t think about any of that. But I think their primary focus is (often) on themselves and their children. (And often in that order.) Because it is so overwhelming for them.

    And there are plenty of times that I think, “I’m glad that is not me” about parenting situations. Parenting isn’t all roses. We are kidding ourselves if we think it is.

    I’m glad Annie is okay. And I send hugs back too.


  3. Hi Sue. I love your blog.
    Do you by chance host any or know of any online Zoom Childless by Marriage support groups? I’ve been looking and can’t seem to find any. I feel like it would be a nice discussion/ meeting other women in the same boat and feel a sense of belonging. I’d love to orchestrate something like that with you if you need some assistance! I apologize for commenting on your blog post with this question.


    • Venett, thank you so much. I don’t know of any online groups other than the ones that Jody Day hosts in the UK. Although I know some readers really want to remain anonymous, I would enjoy meeting on Zoom. I’m going to be traveling on writer business this month, but let’s talk in July. Feel free to email me at


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