I was born into this world a few months after the shooting that changed the course of our history. I was born into a world where a mass shooting shocked the world and was unthinkable. I was born into a world where gun violence wasn’t a normal occurrence. But, I was born into a world that was about to change.
The Columbine Massacre was something that no one had ever experienced before. It was a new issue, an issue that needed to be resolved right away. However, It’s an issue that’s only grown. 13. 13 people were shot and killed that day. 13 people walked into school ready for a normal day, but those 13 people would not have the opportunity to walk back out of that building. These people aren’t statistics, these people are exactly that; people. People whose families were torn apart. People who lost their lives for an avoidable issue. People who we failed.
You would think, after the deadliest mass shooting in our history something would change. Right? How could we go on knowing that murder like this was possible for HIGH SCHOOLERS to accomplish? How could we go on knowing that our neighbors, our loved ones, our families weren’t safe? How.
Well, nothing changed. And again, our country failed. Fast forward, to July 20, 2012, innocent people were targeted again. Innocent people brought their kids to the movies to see a movie, a regular everyday activity. 12 of these people would never see the end of Dark Knight Rises, 12 of these people would never walk out of that movie theatre, 12 of these people would never see a movie again. Again, an occurrence that could’ve been avoided. The heartbreak that these families faced could have been avoided.
Not even a year later, the targets got younger, the victim count increased. 5 months later, an open gunman walked into an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. And brutally murdered 26 people. Among those, 20 children between the ages of 5 and 8. When is it time to make a change? When is it time to realize that whatever we’re doing isn’t good enough? And if that wasn’t enough to change our world, what will be. If we live in a world where losing 20 children and 6 educators due to the distribution of guns isn’t enough to make a change, then what kind of world do we live in.
You know these numbers, this isn’t news. These numbers and events have been ingrained into every mind in America. They’ve caused outrage and sparked a need for change in all of our hearts. If this is OUR America why aren’t changes being made? Why aren’t laws being passed why isn’t the government listening to our fears?
It’s now 2018. I’ve been alive for 18 years. I’ve felt the pain our country's felt, I’ve felt the overbearing weight of defeat everytime we push for change and nothing happens. I’ve felt the sadness looming over us and I’ve fallen victim to the paranoia about taking every single step. This is no way to live. I should not fear my life every time I step into a movie theatre. I should not sit with my legs up and my body slumped so no part of me can be seen just in case someone decides to start shooting. I should not live in the fear I do.
It’s 2018. It has been almost 19 years since the Columbine shooting. And now, we have more to fear than ever before. The world is discussing how a 19-year-old boy was able to purchase an ARMY LEVEL weapon. How a 19-year-old boy was able to have access to a weapon designed to murder in the largest sense. How a 19-year-old boy was able to destroy the lives of too many people by pulling a trigger. How this 19-year-old boy is not getting excuses by the public to make what he did seem less traumatic, less life-altering, and less satanic than it is. How is this our world? How are we satisfied with the world we live in when students go to demand change and are heckled by bystanders. How are we living in a world that defends someone for consciously deciding to take the lives of innocent people? How are you not demanding a change?
It 2018. There have been 18 instances where guns have been an issue on school grounds just this year. Since January 1, 2018, that averages 3 issues with guns on school grounds per week. Although they may not have all been mass shooting with the intentions of murder, they’ve all instilled fear. They’ve made going to school something to be afraid of. Should my parents worry every time I leave my house in the morning that they may not see me that night. Should my parents be afraid of the things that are out of their control? Should I go through the school day flinching at every odd noise I hear? Because I do. Because I’ve lost faith in our system. I’ve lost trust that my school can keep me safe. I’ve lost trust that my country is doing everything they can to keep me safe. Because my country isn’t.
When did it become part of a teacher’s contract to take a bullet for a student.
10 years from now, am I going to be scared to send my kids to preschool. Are mass shootings still going to be swarming the media, our minds, and our world? Is our government going to continue to “listen” to us, and then do nothing. Or will I be able to live in a world where I KNOW my kids will be safe? Where I know that they will come home after leaving the door. Where I won’t have to live in fear. Where my kids won’t ever know the feeling of hiding themselves in a movie theatre seat. Where we know tomorrow will come and it will be good. Where we can be proud of ourselves, and our country.
Almost 19 years ago, our world was flipped. We talked about that shooting, we talked about the next one, and the next one, and the dozens that followed but nothing changed. We sit, we mourn, we cry, we talk but nothing changes. We are failing as a society. We are failing those who lost their lives, we are failing our future, our past, and our present. When will we stop failing? The time to make a change is now, the time to stand up and demand to be heard is now. Because sitting back and waiting for someone else to do it, gets us nowhere. It’s time.