Exhausted. We are exhausted. We are frustrated. But we are curious. How many people have to die to make a dent in America’s gun laws? Humor me.
Give me your best estimate. I can guarantee that your guess is too high.
Last year, my public high school and the middle school experienced a lockdown.
I was supposed to be enjoying lunch with my friends. My brother was in the middle of walking to his next class. The moment I heard the vice principle’s shaky voice echo through the intercom, a blanket of trepidation ran through my nerves. This wasn’t practice.
I might not see some of my friends ever again. They may never see me. What about my brother? Was he afraid? Did he realize the weight of this situation? And my mom? My dad? What would I wear to the funerals? My own funeral?
I had barely turned 17 and I was already thinking about my own death.
It’s morbid, I know. But it’s also unfair. I signed up for an education, not an execution. Don’t I get a say? It’s over a year later and I still flinch at loud noises in the hallways.
My heart skips a little if I hear the intercom beep during a random time in the day. I look for ways to escape when I enter a classroom, or better yet, large pieces of furniture to shield myself from potential bullets.
Sometimes I catch myself wondering if I would be brave enough to protect others if I saw a gunman in my school. No AP or Honors course can prepare a child for that.
I was too young to realize I could make a difference when Sandy Hook occurred.
I merely accepted the bulked security measures at my school and continued on with my adolescence.
But when Parkland hit the press, the nation seemed stunned. Countless shootings have transpired since Sandy Hook, I feel foolish for being asleep until Parkland’s time in the papers.
The truth is, I don’t know why Parkland woke me up. Maybe it was the teenagers finally taking a stand. Maybe it was because Parkland seemed just like my own school. Maybe I was just too old to ignore it anymore.
Through helping set up my high school’s walkout, I became involved with Congressman Tom Suozzi’s rally for gun control. It was a beacon of hope for all the students who felt powerless or angry at the stationary gun laws of this country.
But what’s terrifying is that the intense drive to make a difference has settled down throughout the nation. Instead, so many citizens feel exhausted by the idea of fighting the good fight. You wonder, if you close eyes, will this all go away?
Will the arguments over guns, over lives, finally cease? The reality is, they won’t. But we’ve got to try.
Sunday, July 29 marks a day where everyone gets a chance to try.
Through meetings and group chats, these teenagers have arranged a Gun Violence Prevention Rally at Breezy Park in Huntington starting at 12 p.m.
Days of collaborating and planning have resulted in a completely student-led rally with the support of Congressman Suozzi. It’s easy to lose track of the upsetting cycle of tragedies and ‘thoughts and prayers’; but these young activists are here to remind the nation that we have a promise to fulfill for future generations.
We promise to continue to fight until this does not happen again.
This is our time to create the change we have been shouting for. We may all have our opinions, but one thing rings true for all of us. Enough is enough.
New Hyde Park