As summer comes to a close, I’ve been preparing for the school year. While I was shopping for school supplies, I came across an array of bulletproof backpacks. Claiming to protect kids from being shot, they can’t even withstand the force of an assault rifle, the weapon most often used in mass shootings. Of course, they shouldn’t have to. What kind of world do we live in where backpacks are used for protection instead of carrying books? Rather than trying to protect ourselves against gun violence, we need to prevent it altogether.
Last year, the school l attend experienced a threat from a student who posted a picture of bullets with the caption: “Don’t come to school tomorrow.” Thankfully, the student was arrested coming off of the bus before anything happened.
What’s sickening is that this isn’t even the closest our school has come to a shooting. In years past, we’ve had threats during the school day, and there was even a student who had a loaded gun. Will it take a tragedy hitting too close to home for people to take action? I and millions of students across the country live in fear for our lives every time we have a lockdown. Although I appreciate the safety measures that have been put in place, the fact of the matter is that we shouldn’t be resorting to alternative solutions for something that can be prevented in the first place.
As a student, I feel an overwhelming sense of helplessness. I neither possess power nor the ability to elect someone to a position of power. However, you adults do. Regardless of your political beliefs, you can agree with the fact that what happened in Dayton and El Paso were senseless acts of violence. Thoughts and prayers are lovely sentiments, but they won’t prevent these kinds of things from happening again. If you want stricter gun laws, call or email your senators. Attend rallies; write letters. You have a vital opportunity for your voice to be heard; use it. When the next election rolls around, vote. Everyone is so fixated on the right to bear arms that they forget this essential right. If you want to see new legislation, vote for the representatives that will make it happen. From local to state, every election is crucial. After all, the people you vote for may rise to the position of president one day. Hopefully, of course, gun violence will be a thing of the past by then.
The only thing I should be writing right now is a book report, but here I am now, urging adults to take a stand. I implore you to take advantage of your right to speak out and vote. You owe it to us, the future generation, to make our country a safer place until we are of legal age to do it ourselves. More importantly, you owe it to victims who don’t even get a future. As I begin to set my alarm clock to wake up early again, I hope that the rest of America will wake up, too. Wake up and smell the bloodshed.