To Carolyn D. Meadows, current president of the National Rifle Association
I am scared to go to school. Everyday when I walk into the building where I learn, where I get to talk to friends and make memories I don’t feel safe. I need to be prepared to react to hearing a gunshot everyday, and that is your fault. It is the fault of a country who has been shaped to not value my life, or that of all of my friends, my sister, and my cousins. You are one of the people who shaped this country this way. You fight for your guns, not for our lives. You go against people who only want to make sure their children come home from school everyday. You don’t think their opinions matter because they are different from yours. My opinion matters most. Because I am the one who has to be scared for my life. In the time between January 1st and March 8th of this year alone there have been eighty one school shootings. Eighty five people have been killed. Most of them children. Eighty five people in three months. Outside of schools 316 people are shot every day. 106 are killed. Every year 24,000 people use guns to end their own life. You do not save people. You do not protect their rights. You are the one who holds the gun. You are the one who loads the bullet. You are the one who puts a hole in the head of people like me. People who have families that might never recover. You ruin families every day. Whether it be a child dying in their school surrounded by those just as terrified of them or in a hospital room as their mother and father wait to see if their baby gets to live another day. People like you say that guns protect people. A man in Texas stopped a mass shooting in a church with a gun. But why did he need to stop the shooting? If you hadn’t let people have guns in the first place, there wouldn’t be any need to use guns to defend ourselves. For every gun you put out for defense, two go out for murder. The main difference is, the only people who walk into a school with a gun are the people who intend to kill. These children get no defense. But you actively fight for the sale of assault weapons and high capacity magazines, and against universal background checks. You have several grandchildren. How would you feel if one of them was killed with a gun you tried so hard to put out in the world? You should feel terrified at the very thought. That is the fear every parent has to go through when they hear there’s been a shooting. That period where they don’t know if their child is okay is a feeling more horrible than anything you could possibly imagine. That fear is only matched by the fear I would have to feel if I heard a gunshot ring out in my own school. “Do I know who got shot?” “Is anybody dead?” “Am I next?” These thoughts should never have to be experienced by anyone, but they are because you are a monster. My body for your bullets. My soul for your riches. My love, and my life, all for your guns. You are a monster because you think that is a fair trade. I know you think that because you do nothing to fight against it. You fight for it every day. I do not believe you will listen. After all that’s happened your mission hasn’t changed, why would a letter make a difference? But I also don’t think this is futile. This letter is addressed to you but it is truly for everyone else. Those willing to fight against you and for my life and the lives of every friend and family member I have. And if it fails and I am killed in a place where I should have been safest, I get to die knowing that you will realize that my blood is on your hands. Maybe that will change something.
Dashiell Paul Brennan, 8th Grade