I write this with chills running through my body, and I am left utterly speechless. I woke up this morning, knowing it was not going to be like any other Wednesday at school. It was going to be special because today is Valentine's Day - a day where love is supposed to fill the air. Little did I or anyone else know, with the exception of one 19-year-old man, that today would come to an end with death lingering in the air.
I fear refreshing any social media, only to see the numbers of precious lives lost continue to rise. So far, 17 students lost their lives in a place that should be considered a home away from home. A school is a place where students go to be inspired, not to be openly fired upon.
What sounded like a fire drill, was actually a carefully planned mechanism for students to be vulnerable to an attack. Although the Stoneman Douglas High School had a fire drill earlier in the day, safety is no joke. How could we ever determine a safety precaution as an authentic practice or deathly? I fear we will continuously lose our ability to trust others in the future. Maybe it is the lack of trust that leads us to believe we must use weapons as an extension of ourselves for self-defense.
There are many reasons why such tragedies occur on the properties of educational institutions. Whether it is a student seeking revenge, or acting out of violence to cope with a personal dilemma, I hope our generation does not continue down this path and contribute to making the world a place full of grief, rather than learning how to improve it.
I refuse to dive deeper into the issue of gun control and mental health, as I have learned about mindfulness. I am not defending anyone who believes it is acceptable to commit horrendous crimes such as mass murders, but we are more interdependent than we think. Our individual actions all affect or make others feel some way, and their responses can often lead to behaviors. In essence, people are affected by other people.
Think of how your reactions to injustice, exclusion, anger, instability, jealousy, and desperation. Think of your reactions to elation, cheerfulness, humor, energy, sympathy, and inspiration. I know, that I have two completely different sets of actions that undoubtedly affect other people. And I know this by the way people react to my emotions.
In less than a month, I will be turning 19. In two weeks, I am traveling to Broward County. I do not, and do not think, I will ever be able to understand the motives behind this particular 19-year-old's mind. I will never be able to understand why some individuals believe violence is the answer. I do not want to become numb to the words "school shooting" because it continues to make a frequent appearance on the news. I hope those words never diminish the powerful capacity it has to instill a need for change.
Violence is taught. Do not encourage it. Do not instill it. Please. Inspire, don't fire.