As most bloggers do, I’ve been tracking the readership stats for my latest post, “Gunfire.” It’s gratifying when many people think a post is worthy of attention and share it.

With this in mind, this morning I saw this photo of a Duke basketball player’s shoe accompanying a column in the Washington Post.

This is where the blog writer makes a snarky comment, but I cannot–not for this one.

Wow.

Wow. And again, wow.

It’s not only the word “KILL” on the shoe. It’s the school-color Duke Blue Devil blue dripping down the Nike swoosh like blood running out of a human body to pool on the floor.

Wow.

We live in a world of Code Yellows when something is going on in the neighborhood around a school and we keep children in the classroom–no movement–as a precaution.

We live in a world of Code Reds when we simulate a threat present on campus. Sometimes it’s real.

We live in a world of Active Shooter Drills whereby we terrify children with blank shots and everything else as a school practice. We fire pellets at teachers. And we say that’s okay. They need to be ready.

I am ready. I put my Swift Shield on the door and despite the efforts of people in the hall to gain access to my room to do whatever nonsense they have in mind for the purpose of being sure that we will fight back, they can’t get in.

Teacher scores one for his team, but my shoes carry no message.

I live in Florida. Politicians would rather give me a gun than buy me a cost-effective means of barricading my classroom.

The Parkland student movement shows up in Tallahassee and the legislature postpones the gun bill hearings they had scheduled.

We decry violence, but in our sports, we turn around and celebrate it.

Why?

Hard play and competition do not demand that we engage in hyperbole of warfare and death.

How do we begin to change our culture of violence?

We can start by doing away with shoes like that pictured. We can stop with the inappropriate metaphors. We can make sportsmanship a higher value. Everyone wants to win, but no one should want to win with a ‘whatever-it-takes’ attitude.

There are lines that should not be crossed.

Nike, you did that with this shoe.

Shame on you.

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