As a child, I recall sitting in on a class. We were asked what we wanted most in the world and, putting all superficialities aside, we (a class of 23 children) collectively decided we wanted world peace. At the time, such a wish didn’t seem too off the wall. We were innocent, young, and naïve dreamers who were guarded against the evils of the world and spared pain we later would know so well.
As I got older, like most kids, I was taught more about the world and learned about the horrors that exist. Never did I think that I would live them. Wars, riots, chaos, destruction, and violence seemed worlds away. I pictured those things in poor, underdeveloped, and least governed places but not America: the land of the free, the place people flee to in order to escape violence of their own.
However, lately I have seen firsthand that these evils do exist… and they are close by, surrounding us. These tragedies seem unreal and are incomprehensible, but as they move closer to home, we realize how awful the world truly can be. Violence plagues us. It's in homes, streets, communities, cities, states, countries. This lack of peace is breaking us as a society, and soon will be fractured beyond repair.
We lose so many people so young because of violence, drugs, and alcohol. Many people do not even get a chance to truly live because they are punished for one mistake at the cost of their lives. Life is unfair, as we all have been told repeatedly, but not everything happens for a reason. Violence has no reason. And it needs to stop.
The world is a constant threat of violence, and it doesn’t have to be. But still, we feed into this violence; we are the violence. It’s scary, terrifying actually, that you never know when or where violence will strike. It’s a shame that we have to worry when we go to concerts, sporting events, the movies, vacation or anywhere with crowds because those once enjoyable days of relaxation have turned into cautiously checking your surroundings and having a lingering anxiety in the back of your mind. The biggest monsters in the world shouldn’t be humans.
Everyone always talks about how we need to change in order to make the world a better place, but no one wants to give the effort to make that change. The world doesn’t have to get worse before it gets better, but we often pardon each other’s actions, and we need to stop. Punishments need to be made where they are deserved, yet we cannot take punishment into our own hands. It is necessary that we, as a society, realize this. We should not be at war with ourselves. We need to reunite, learn acceptance, and reevaluate our goals as a nation. We should not be fighting ourselves. We need to work together to create a world of harmony instead of dividing to do the opposite.
Differing opinions are not wrong, fighting about them is.
Prejudice is not knowledge, acceptance is.
Words are not proof, action is.
Bullying is not power, unity is.