It’s been a month since the Parkland shooting, so as a nation, students attended walkouts as a form of peaceful protest and a way to remember the 17 lives that were lost too soon.
A sophomore at my school, Keeley Gorman read a powerful speech that I wanted to share as it put the shooting into perspective, and I’m still thinking about it after nine hours.
“Look around. Take in the faces of those around you. Take in the privilege of going to a safe and wonderful school. Take in the peace that we are all currently experiencing. Now imagine if all of that peace were to suddenly dissolve, and that life as you know it were to change forever. No one should ever have to come to school and never go home again. No one should have to lose their best friends to senseless violence. No one should experience school as anything other than a safe environment, meant to teach and nurture. No child should be capable of fearing for their own life, and yet… this is the reality that survivors of school shootings face. They have lived through the unthinkable. If you’re under the age of 19, pause for a moment. Try to remember a time in your life when mass shootings weren’t happening. (PAUSE) You can’t. The Columbine school shooting happened on April 20th, 1999, before we were born. We have never known a reality without constant violence and worry. We have never known a reality in which schools are exactly what they are supposed to be: safe. In fact, our realities have become so full of violence, shootings, and sadness that we have simply become desensitized to it all. We are children, and we perceive violence as common. Our children should not have to grow up in a world like this. As we reflect upon the lives lost in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, we must make the decision to honor the people who have died. We must decide to no longer stand for such violence, and move forward in such a way that school shootings can never happen again. No person, especially not a child, should ever have to suffer through this again. If you have a reflection of your own or an intention, please feel free to come up and share. Thank you so much to everyone for participating.”
When she asked us to remember a time in which mass shootings didn’t occur, I was simply at a loss. I’m a 17 year old high school senior and this is all I’ve known my whole life, isn’t that insane? I’ve become desensitized to the shootings that plague not only my country but the world because I’ve never lived through a period in which they didn’t occur. This is my reality, and I don’t want it to be.
I don’t want to bring children into a world in which they may never come home from school, I don’t want to fear people murdering children, I don’t want to fear an institution that intends to teach the youth to be good people. I don’t want to fear my reality.
I realize that the problem of mass shootings is the problem that my generation, GenZ, must defeat, so we can finally make the world a better place.
17 is far too young to be numb to these tragedies of our country, it’s time to REALLY end the problem on this generation, so this can’t happen, #neveragain.