Picture this: you are a high school student who has just left class to go to the bathroom. The air around you is warm and you don’t even think about where you’re going as you’ve walked these halls so many times before. As you enter the bathroom, you sense that someone else is inside. As you round the corner you come face to face with an automatic rifle and an unfamiliar face. He tells you “You better run. It’s going to get messy.”
I wish I could say this is just a made up scenario. All pretend. Not a reality. Unfortunately, this is one of the stories that had emerged from a survivor of the Parkland shooting. A friend who was close to this survivor had shared it with me in a tearful talk, as we tried to comprehend how this had all actually happened. The kids inside that high school were my friend’s siblings, cousins, best friends. They all mattered to someone and some were taken too soon.
This is not the first tragic mass shooting, and if something doesn’t change now it will not be the last. After 27 lives of elementary schoolers and their teachers were taken, one would think nothing like this would ever happen again. Or after the first major mass shooting in 1999 at Columbine High School. Almost twenty years have passed since Columbine, and yet the shootings have skyrocketed into a total American epidemic.
It has been almost three months since Parkland, the last mass shooting to be majorly news-casted. However, just one month after the Parkland shooting there were 34 more mass shootings that had occurred. But was anyone talking about it: no? Lives move on, media moves on, and stories die down. The pain, suffering, and loss that the families of those lost individuals feel does not pass and will haunt them for the rest of their lives.
It is time for the government to stop apologizing for all the loss that has occurred and for the current state of affairs to begin changing. Families will never get their loved ones back, survivors may never feel the same again, and so it is undoubtedly owed to them for change to occur. They deserve for there to never be another affected individual in this country by any act of gun violence.
Wallowing in despair and sadness will not bring anyone back, but working to evolve gun laws and this country’s stance on gun related-issues will save future lives that could be affected. Whether it means stricter background checks, better selling systems, raised ages on the ability to buy a gun, it needs to happen now.
This is the time for change to occur and the only way for it to happen is for everyone who still has a voice to use it. Write to your state representatives and even to White House elects. What this country needs is not a 50-state-wide group hug, but a giant slap in the face to wake up and start making a change.
When the conversation stops is when all hope is truly lost. Speak up and do not stand back.