Not long after 14-year-old Maggie Hagerty, a school teacher, and 15-year-old Hailey Owens, a student, were shot to death at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital on Wednesday morning, Bridgette Hagerty drove to Washington State with her husband and her 9-year-old daughter to help her older daughter be with friends and family. The former teacher had grown emotional while accepting the volunteers thank-you of the senators that walked her to the checkpoint at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
“They weren’t really talking about legislation,” the Washington Post quoted Bridgette Hagerty as saying. “They were more talking about family and love.”
Bridgette Hagerty was one of thousands of American parents caught in the crossfire of anti-gun violence in schools and newsrooms this week. At one point, as her daughter and Owens lay dying, Maggie Hagerty walked onto the Mercy Hospital campus and locked herself into a room, praying. “This is in my control, this is not out of my control,” she recalled thinking as she hid behind glass and underneath two chairs. “Everything is okay.” The girl was declared dead within minutes. Maggie was pronounced dead 90 minutes later.
Hagerty’s other daughter, however, is fine, thanks to a colleague at the hospital who broke the news to her. Awaiting her second-grader, Bridgette Hagerty became emotional when speaking to a reporter from the post about the shooting. “I just can’t tell you that I’m there right now,” she said.
In the aftermath of the shooting, the Des Moines Register described the teen who said she was Maggie’s student for six years. “I’m scared of going to school again, because it reminds me of what happened,” she said. “I don’t want to, and there’s no way I’m going to, but it’s in the back of my mind.”
In the past five days, more than 50 Americans have been killed at the hands of the firearm. The sheer scope of the carnage in recent days has stunned Americans. The first anniversary of President Obama’s last year in office is Friday. The series of high-profile school shootings on Wednesday added to the public’s sense of grief. And yet, the conversation around gun control in America has ceased.
As Maggie Hagerty left the airport on Wednesday, people urged her to head home. “Come home,” they chanted. Bridgette responded that she would come home when they talked about legislation. “I’ll do what I can,” she said.
From someone outside of Washington, D.C., that sentiment was echoed.
“We’re trying to tell people: come home,” said retired journalist Scott DeBerry.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.
Teacher taught in Chicago class where girl shot to death as final student was leaving for school