Over the past few weeks, school shootings have been one of the most prominent headlines in the news. In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, students have been voicing their opinions demanding increased gun regulations in the United States. As we are just over ten weeks into 2018, CNN has recognized 12 school shootings thus far. As more and more schools have become affected, never in a million years did I think it would be my school.

Waking up was much like any other day, spring break had started early for me since I had no Friday classes. However, when I woke up a little past 9:00 a.m., my phone was blowing up with texts, calls, and emails from friends, family, and the school alert system. When I first read the news, there wasn’t really any words to describe how it felt. I knew that like myself, most of my friends had left campus early for break, but I also knew that many of my friends were still on campus.

In my first waking moments, none of it felt real to me. I grew up hearing about Columbine and Virginia Tech, and still remember watching the live footage on the day of the Sandy Hook shooting, but none of this felt real. It couldn’t be my school. When it’s somewhere else, it’s so easy to think how something so tragic could never happen to you, until one day, it does.

Waking up to an “are you safe?” text is both heartwarming and heart wrenching, because although it means so much that my friends and family care about me, I never wanted to wake up and turn on the TV to see my school featured in a headline for breaking news.

On the other hand, I never want to have to wake up and wonder if my friends are okay. In 2018, students should not have to worry if their friends are okay. It’s school, not a war zone. Until it happens to you, it’s almost impossible to empathize with the feeling of wondering if your friends are safe or not.

Following the wave of Parkland students voicing their opinions about gun laws and regulations, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch has made some pretty ballsy statements in response. In an ad for her new NRA TV show, Loesch warns that time is running out for those who would “rather watch America burn than lose one ounce of their power.”

What about the politicians and representatives who would rather watch innocent students die than lose one ounce of their power? Dana Loesch’s statements are cowardly and show no remorse whatsoever for the victims of the Parkland shooting, let alone any school shooting.

Whether or not you believe it’s a gun or a mental health issue, America needs change. People are dying. Students are dying. Is the most logical answer really arming teachers with guns?

Just because my school made world news for a tragic reason, doesn’t mean that I don’t love my school anymore. I still love CMU and I believe that moving forward, this will make not only the CMU community stronger, but the Mount Pleasant community as well. CMU is a school full of leaders, they will not remain silent in the face of adversity.