February 14th is a day that should be associated with love. Whether it be romantic love, platonic love, or familial love, Valentine's Day should be a day that only brings up thoughts of chocolate boxes, sappy instagram posts and overpriced cards.
February 14th should not be a day where 17 families have their entire worlds fall irreparably apart. It should be a day that is associated with red because it is the color of hearts, not because it is the color of blood.
The tragedy that hit Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is yet another tick on a list that was too long from the day that it started. And frankly, we are tired. We are beyond tired.
How many times do we have to say "enough is enough," before enough is actually enough.
We are living in the age of terror. And "terror" means more than just terrorism - we are literally living in an age of terror. Where nightclubs, concerts, movies aren't safe. Where parents are terrified to send their kids to SCHOOL, of all places.
Where I have to watch my 13-year-old sister's eyes well up with tears as she says that she is, "at least safe until next year, because someone would probably shoot a high school before they shoot a middle school."
This is so far past unacceptable it is actually hard to fathom. It is hard to fathom the fact that 17 innocent lives were lost simply because they went to school. It is hard to fathom the fact that we have to listen to the children in Parkland advocate for bulletproof windows in classrooms.
Because, somehow, now the words bulletproof and classroom are spoken about in the same sentence. It is so far past an atrocity, so cruel, so magnificently painful that I do not know if there is even a word to describe it.
I cannot begin to relate to the pain that those directly affected by this tragedy feel. And I will not pretend to.
But what I will say is that I should not have to look into my little sister's eyes and see real fear at the prospect of going to school.
What I will say is that I should not be afraid at the thought that she still has 4 years of high school to attend - 4 years of which, if nothing changes, I cannot guarantee she will survive.
My hometown is very much a bubble: it is the type of town that is as safe as they come. It is the type of town where we talk through the entirety of a lockdown drill, because the thought that it will ever need to be applied for real does not even cross our minds. It is the type of town that is exactly like Parkland.
"As safe as they come" is clearly not that safe at all.
I am not going to pretend that I have a vast amount of knowledge about politics because I do not. And I am not going to pretend that I am the authority on gun control because I am not.
But what I am is a human - I have eyes, I have ears, and more importantly, I have a heart. And you do not need to be a politician to recognize that we NEED change, you simply need to be a human.
Because regardless of your political affiliations, this is apocalyptic.
Children cannot be sent to school with a book bag and return in a body bag.
And we cannot keep sending "thoughts and prayers" when what we really need is change. I hope with everything that I have in me that this time enough is really enough.
That no one else needs to die before policies are changed and the existence of children becomes more important than the existence of the second amendment in a constitution. A constitution that, mind you, included a compromise that declared people of color to count as 3/5 of a person.
Nowhere is off limits. No one is safe.
We must make changes and we must make them now.
Because it is too much to bear.
It is too much.