Back-To-School Season Is Way Different When You Were The Kid A Town Over From The Sandy Hook Shooting
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Back-To-School Season Is Way Different As The Threat Of School Shootings Continue to Loom Over America

As American students, we face a burden specific to our country.

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Back-To-School Season Is Way Different As The Threat Of School Shootings Continue to Loom Over America
Meg Edwards

As college students begin to move into new dorms, everyone is flushed with the feeling of excitement: anxious for new experiences, meeting and reconnecting with friends that will last a lifetime, and setting up their dorm room with all enough Pintrest-able Target decor to make the perfect background for a fresh, new pic for the 'gram.

But, as American college students, we face a burden specific to our country. With a new school year approaching, anticipation is accompanied by something more daunting. In the back of all American students' minds is a question that cannot be dismissed: Is my school going to be next?

Florida. Washington. California. Connecticut. Illinois. Minnesota. Oregon. Texas. Virginia. Colorado.

When will Pennsylvania join the list? When will Villanova know the immeasurable grief that so many others have known in the aftermath of a mass school shooting?

For children (because that's what students are — even college students), school should be accompanied by several feelings: stress to ensure that homework is done and tests are passed, excitement to see friends in the halls or between classes, annoyance that an alarm has to be set every morning. Fear, however, is not included.

Yet, that is what we have to face on a daily basis.

My hometown borders Newtown, Connecticut, the site of America's second most lethal school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Hopefully, I will never truly understand what it's like to physically be around such levels of gun violence. However, the pain that is felt because of it ricochets and amplifies, affecting everyone in its midst.

I still remember that day vividly. I remember the fear in my Mom's texts when we were unsure if those we knew in the school were safe or the whereabouts of the gunman. I remember all the calls over the intercom that yet another student's parent was there to pick them up and not knowing why so many were leaving and wishing I was the next one to be dismissed.

I remember the confusion and the rumors and I remember the quiet that overtook my friends who called Newtown their home and Sandy Hook Elementary School their school in the months following.

And every year on 12/14, I remember those defenseless children and brave faculty members, and all those who have come after them, failed by their country and their government.

In order for someone to pull the trigger, there has to be something to pull.

Mental illnesses are not the problem.

Violence on television and in video games is not the problem.

There should be no intensive measures of security in an environment meant to cultivate and nurture.

Teachers are there to educate on proper sentence structure and the periodic table, not to partake in a war zone.

No person off the street should have the ability to wield enough power to murder 26 individuals and it's as simple as that. There has to be a limit. There has to be a system that firmly and legally regulates who can have access to these weapons and in what capacity because the affliction that is felt following a mass shooting may diminish over time but it never goes away, not really.

And to all the past and future students who have felt the fear of walking into a school, or a church, or a movie theatre, or a night club and not being able to walk out: I'm sorry. I'm sorry that our government chooses to prioritize campaign donations over human lives. I'm sorry that the politicians in power refuse to see the value of your life.

I have countless "I'm sorry's" that have no effect and yield no gain. I simply hope that one day, we all can have a back-to-school season full of confidence that action is being taken and change is foreseeable.

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