Yesterday, I got an email from a Staples High School sophomore. She calls herself “quiet,” and says that although she’s not a very good writer, she’s passionate about one subject, and wanted to share her thoughts with the “06880” community.
She’s wrong. She is an excellent writer. And her feelings come through, loud and clear She writes:
I’m not sure when the events at Parkland hit me entirely, but I feel the weight now. I surely did not comprehend it on Valentine’s Day.
I saw the news as an alert on my phone, but I was preparing for a chemistry test and ignored it. That speaks volumes, I suppose. I have become so numb to gun violence that it was easy (easy!) for me to turn my phone off, and instead focus on writing out a chemical reaction.
I read the story in depth later that day, but all I could think was the tragic irony that a mass shooting had happened on Valentine’s Day, which I associate with frivolity…not death.
I struggle now, grappling with my emotions: bereavement, frustration, and fear.
I despise guns with a passion. I used to argue (rather radically) that guns were entirely unnecessary. I thought no one should have one. In recent months, I’ve come to adopt the belief that no one should own some guns. A gun designed for human murder, I think, should not be available for purchase. I think that this stance is more commonplace; I hope that it is.
One opinion, however, that I do feel is more universally accepted (at least among students) is that I feel let down. We are let down due to lack of action.
My opinion is deemed less valuable on the basis of age alone. I am not able to participate in political matters because I have not yet reached the “magical” age of maturity; I am under 18.
My voice should still be respected. In fact, I think that teenage voices should be relevant now more than ever. Students feel personally affected by the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. I’ve broken down this week, as have my peers.
Our safety is in the hands of lawmakers…lawmakers who haven’t made much progress. Lawmakers who have offered up some of the most absurd solutions I’ve ever heard (we shouldn’t be solving guns with guns, that’s just a vicious cycle). And, I should point out, this is not just about student safety. Banning weapons of assault should be viewed as a gain for everyone.
I plan to participate in the national school walkout on March 14, and I’m proud that I attend a school that has such a determined student body. If progress still hasn’t been made, I also plan on taking part in the Connecticut-wide one, intended for April 20th…to mark the anniversary of the Columbine shooting.
Living in fear is no way to live. And I’m certainly scared. But I refuse to become acclimated to tragedy.
A Staples Student