An Apolitical Piece On Mass Shootings
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An Apolitical Piece On Mass Shootings

This is how I feel, as a student.

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An Apolitical Piece On Mass Shootings
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Disclaimer: this article is not intended to sway the opinion of any reader. I am not writing to comment on politics, legislation, or legal rights nor am I qualified to do so. The only thing I am completely certain of is my own experience.

On December 14, 2012, I was in middle school riding home on the bus. My bus driver began to speak to the high schoolers that always sat in the front seats. They were discussing the events in Newtown, Connecticut. I listened to them speak about the kindergartners who were killed. I could not comprehend how this could have happened in a place like Connecticut - I had been there in 2008 on vacation. This is the first instance of hearing about a school shooting that I can remember.

Since Sandy Hook, there have been countless incidents of mass shootings in and beyond the classroom.

As a student, hearing of these events is terrifying.

I often thought about what I would do if something like this happened at my high school. Drills and precautions never made me feel safer - I knew that if an event of this sort were to occur it would spontaneous and preparation would fly out the window.

After the first drill our school performed, I had a nightmare that a shooter had come in. I was running through the halls looking for an exit to no avail. The next day, I made a conscious effort to plan an exit strategy for every classroom I frequented.

Since I have arrived at the University of Pittsburgh, these feelings have not dissipated.

Although there are more shootings than I could possibly remember, the two events that frightened me most were the 2017 Las Vegas massacre and the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. Both of these large-scale murders have occurred in the months since my move to college.

They have heightened my horror to new levels.

I do not go a day without thinking "what if?" My large lecture halls, the cafeteria, and the library all make me squeamish. My heart races during the commercials when I go to a movie with my friends.

Yesterday, the sounds of power tools and construction outside my classroom made me jump. I wonder if I will always feel this way? If my kids will feel this way? I think of my younger sister in junior high and contemplate if she is ever frightened. I wonder if lawmakers are scared for their children?

This form of terrorism is not foreign or cloaked in an alien culture. It cannot be blamed on outsiders or strangers - it is in our backyards, at our schools, and in our movie theaters. I do not have an answer or a solution, I am simply writing to provide an example of real, palpable fear that is tormenting countless students in the United States. With the current climate surrounding gun control I cannot help but hope that there will be change to ensure my safety. I cannot help but hope that children can attend school without imminent fear for their lives.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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