Carol Landale spent 25 years as a teacher in the Poway Unified School District, and although she loved being in the classroom, the fear of becoming a school shooting victim became too much to work through.
She decided to take action after the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut back in 2012. That deadly December day became Landale's clarion call to action. She retired from the district but held on to her dedication to a better, and safer, future for schoolchildren.
“This became my calling, my vocation to do something about gun violence," exclaimed Landale.
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These days you might see her dressed in a red shirt at rallies like the one last week supporting victims of the deadly mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York grocery store.
As the executive director of San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention, the retired French teacher is now using her voice to fight for tougher gun laws.
"We need to have weapons of war off our streets," said Landale.
She says she's not anti-gun, just anti-gun violence. That's why her organization is fighting for stricter background checks and for increasing the legal gun ownership age nationwide to 21.
“An 18-year-old whose brain isn't fully developed anyway, he's a child. He can’t go into a bar and have a drink, so why should he have an AR-15.”
Landale says the trauma students endure from active shooter drills in her classroom days isn't far from her mind while she continues her fight.
“I’d think, 'That was little Brian. Brian was depressed he went out, had a bad grade and I’m all alone on campus,'" Landale said. "My mind went to, 'What is that student going to do? Is he going to come back, be angry because he earned an F?'"
A frustrated Landale says though nothing's changed since she started her crusade 10 years ago, the former teacher is hoping this Texas shooting is another wake-up call and another lesson learned, especially for politicians.