A year ago around this time, I hosted a walkout and demonstration at my high school. It was on March 14, 2018, a month after the Parkland shooting had happened and 17 people had their lives violently stolen from them. Kids like you and I and educators that were committed to more than teaching, but also the livelihoods of their students. These people were murdered in cold blood for such an unexplained reason.
These shootings continue to occur all over.
Since the Parkland shooting that my classmates and I walked out for happened, a school shooting has happened almost every 12 days. A school shooting in America happens almost once every two weeks — let that sink in for a moment. A gun is violently brought onto a campus that is supposed to be a safe environment for kids to learn. Instead, that place has been turned into something scary and evil because of these weapons being brought in and utilized around the country. Kids all around the world are scared of the ultimate what-if: "What if I'm in school and there's a shooting?"
I know in high school, my peers and I talked about it fearfully very often. It's a scary reality that this generation of teens has to face.
At the walkout, we didn't discuss gun control but rather how to actively fix a problem that goes beyond government interference. A problem that goes beyond legislation and instead how people deal with each other in daily life. Nowadays, we seem to be in constant defense mode. Everything offends someone or triggers someone. At the walkout, we talked about how to be kind to one another and how we thought we could fix this problem with our own actions and not those of the government.
Obviously, this walkout was done at a very controversial time in the country, which led to a whole lot of backlash from peers and community members.
While there was an overwhelming amount of support that filled my heart, there was a lot of hate that followed. There were people that assumed we hosted a walkout only to skip class (keep in mind some of the brightest minds at my high school attend the walkout) and a debilitating amount of people that criticized the school for allowing students to demonstrate for gun control. But, the reality was that gun control was never discussed at the walkout. Here's the real problem: People assumed instead of listening.
People listened to the hyper-focused media instead of people who participated.
The problem with American society is we are so quick to assume. Just like people were quick to assume that my peers and I huffed and puffed about gun bans and gun control; meanwhile, none of that was discussed at the walkout that I hosted. The problem that has persisted in America is that the media hyper-focuses on one major travesty at a time, but then it quickly changes its scope with the American people following suit.
That's the problem we're facing America.
Many like to say that news is twisted and fake, but the real problem with the news is that it isn't thorough. The real problem is that we follow issues for limited amounts of time because the media only follows these issues for limited amounts of time. With this, I bet you didn't know that a school shooting happens every 12 days here in America. Instead, we're focused on "Trump said this and Trump said that."
So, America, here is my proposition to you: Choose the issues that you think need a resolution or need to be addressed in full heart. Don't bandwagon along with the media. If impeaching Trump is your focus, follow it. If gun control is your focus, follow it. Whatever it may be on whatever side of the political spectrum, follow it. Without some commitment and passion, our democracy is doomed.