It is February 14th, 2018.

I read the news at around 5:00 this afternoon.

I read the story that seventeen people, whose lives had barely started, had their lives taken away from them this afternoon.

I could say what the sheriff of Broward County, Florida said: "There are no words."

But that isn't altogether true. I, for one, have so many words for the situation.

There are too many moments of silence taken-and please, I implore you, don't misunderstand this to mean we shouldn't take moments of silence to mourn and honor the victims of tragedies such as this. It's just that we should never expect there to be a time in which we do so. We should not ever lose members of communities, schools, families, or friend groups to such senseless acts of violence. We should never send our children to school and be afraid that they will not return home safely.

Seventeen families are now having to plan the memorial services for their precious children taken all too soon. Many more are injured or traumatized-and for what reason?

The ever-present question in these situations is why? To most of us, there is no clear answer-and in many cases, we never get an answer, because the shooters die shortly after by their own hands. I will never understand their motivation-no matter how many news articles, or case studies, or reports I read or hear about these terroristic acts of violence, there is no explanation, no EXCUSE for this kind of insanity.

I may not have known any of the victims, or their families, and until today I had no idea this high school existed, but that doesn't change the fact that I am absolutely livid.

I am furious that there is another round of flags flying at half mast tonight. I am so angry that there are so many disgusting people out there that think killing innocent people is the best way to do whatever it is they're trying to accomplish-in this year alone, according to an article on The Guardian's website https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/14/scho..., this was the eighth school shooting in the United States this year alone that has resulted in casualties-and we're not even to March, yet.

I understand the occasional need for guns. In a dangerous situation, certain people like police officers or members of the Armed Forces may need a gun to diffuse situations and prevent mass violent attacks. However, other than these people, I do not believe anyone needs the type of gun that is most common in mass shootings. The name itself-assault rifle-implies that there is no good that can come from it. Theoretically, assault rifles are only used for recreational hunting of animals, but it has been made plain that violent, mentally disturbed criminals have but one use for them-taking human lives.

Those human lives had value. I have some charged questions for those adamant that we don't need stricter gun laws: which is more valuable, your right to bear arms, or someone's right to simply breathe? Why do you think a document written nearly 250 years ago is more important than a person who was, at most, eighteen years old?

I don't care to hear your insane excuses that are very likely reaching. I get it. The Constitution is important to me, too, because without it, those freedoms we currently have could be taken. But I'd choose keeping my niece from ever having to be scared during a lockdown instead of worrying about someone demanding the Second Amendment freedom.

There are too many moments of silence, and I'll be damned if I have to take one for someone I am watching grow up.

My heart goes out to Florida, and most especially those who lost their children, siblings, relatives, and friends. I am taking a moment of silence for your loved ones, and for your healing in this time of grief. I just hope-though it is likely futile-that this is the last time I will ever take a moment of silence like this one.