2022 is a time frozen in tragedy, where there are more mass shootings than days in the year, the shooters responsible receive instant fame, and our country is more divided than ever. In light of the recent events in Uvalde, Texas (among other locations), both Republicans and Democrats have had enough.
That is where the similarities end, however, with Republicans advocating for arming teachers while Democrats advocate for stricter gun control laws. Americans across the nation are no longer willing to sit by and watch their innocent children be slaughtered.
We will not forget in a week.
We want a solution.
We want a stop to the tragic headlines.
Many graduated adults look back on their experiences in the classroom with rose-tinted glasses, thinking only of rendezvous with a high school sweetheart or cheering for their football team. I graduated from a small high school in rural Indiana in 2020 and consider myself fortunate enough to have survived.
I remembered hearing stories every week on the news about students who were not so lucky.
Following Sandy Hook, the energy in my school system changed. After twenty-seven people were killed in the Sandy Hook shooting, our classroom doors were locked, hall passes were required and drills were regularly practiced.
I was ten years old.
I was confused as to why someone would want to come into my school and hurt me. Survivors all around the nation are asking themselves the same question.
According to the Texas Tribune, one eleven-year-old girl had to cover herself in another student’s blood to protect herself in the Uvalde shooting. Students today are scared. Our children, siblings, and friends are dying.
For many students with turbulent home lives, school is the one safe place for them. Students have access to a positive role model in adults, hot food and extracurricular activities.
However, this security has been ripped away from students in the wake of mass shootings across America. Mass shootings have become so normalized that students today have begun to say “when” instead of “if”.
Due to the inaction of the adults meant to protect them, young children expect to be shot in their classrooms. Many are talking about arming teachers, which is one possible solution.
However, who will pay for these firearms? How will teachers ensure that they do not fall into students’ hands?
That solution seems unrealistic. If we cannot afford to pay teachers a wage they can comfortably live off of, how will we arm them with millions of dollars worth of ammunition and firearms?
Many parents hope for better futures for their children, but because of one person’s actions, 19 children have no earthly future. Parents, siblings and friends are now learning how to cope with the trauma and grief involved with such a tragic event.
Thousands of dollars will be spent on memorial services, damages to the school, and mental health services. How many more people have to die before there is a solution?
Since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, thousands have died as a result of insufficient gun control policies and inaction by the government. According to National Public Radio (NPR), Uvalde is only one of a staggering 246 reported mass shootings so far in 2022.
Regardless of your political affiliation, something must be done, and the country needs to stand strong against those who want to harm us and our children. Write your local Senator, register to vote and hold the government responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent bystanders.
We owe it to the children scared in their classrooms, the teachers praying they’ll make it home to their families and the hundreds of parents who are forced to grieve a life lost too soon. If we do not band together as Americans, more children will be murdered at the hands of a vicious gunman.
Will it be your child tomorrow?
Contact Brevin Williams with comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org