Students share sentiments on school shootings

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Students speak out — People young and old rally for gun-law reform in a Feb. 19 protest in Washington, D.C., organized by the student group Teens for Gun Reform. 

Students speak out — People young and old rally for gun-law reform in a Feb. 19 protest in Washington, D.C., organized by the student group Teens for Gun Reform. 

PHOTO BY LAURIE SHAULL VIA FLICKR

This is Linda Bishop. I am an adjunct professor and English teacher at Trinity Christian Academy in Deltona. My junior and senior students were stirred emotionally and politically after the school shootings, so I asked them if they wanted to talk. They did.

They eloquently brought up both sides of the issues, and many tender sentiments brought my tears. 

I asked senior Aaron Yurcisin to pull together the students’ thoughts in one essay, and he brought me this:

 

I was not alive for the tragedy that is Columbine. I was a baby in a crib, not even coherent enough to understand the events that unfolded on Sept. 11, 2001.

By the time the Virginia Tech shooting rolled around, I was in kindergarten. Mass shootings and acts of terror were ingrained in me to be as normal as my ABCs.

By the time I was in middle school, Sandy Hook was plastered on every form of media in America. I remember that day fairly vividly.  It was a Friday afternoon, and I had just come home from school.  I booted up my mom’s old laptop and was getting ready to play some online games with my friends when I clicked on the Internet Explorer home page.

A bolded headline scrolled across the screen: “26 dead.” That was the most chilling moment I can adequately remember, not because of the tragedy, but because I didn’t care.

I clicked off the browser and went straight to playing games. Not 1 ounce of my soul ached.

You see, everyone likes to point their fingers at why there is a disconnect between generations. What if that gap is anguish?

My parents were raised in the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania. The only communication they had with the outside world was one house telephone. When 9/11 happened, they stood in shock as the false sense of safety that was built up came crashing down.

My peers and I were never gifted the bliss of ignorance. The first lesson we were told as kids was to be careful, to watch out for ourselves. We were told that the world is so bitter and set on condemning itself in its entirety that everyone is a threat.

Why have we reached a point where tragedies simply add reasons to a never-ending list of why we should not interact with one another? Fear and danger have become a wall between unity and us.

My generation should not have to tremble every time we step foot on our school’s campus. A place once hallowed has been left in pieces. At one point, will there be a change?

How many innocent children will suffer at the hands of gun violence? Only you can know the answer.

Guns are only half of the problem. The real issue is mental health. Most of all, school shooters have something in common — mental illnesses. They are constantly suppressed long enough to turn into monsters whose form of solace is found in the pain of others. Our laws can change that.

Mental-health evaluations should be a requirement before purchasing a firearm. Not only should the owner be evaluated, but close members in the household as well.

Health care plans should not consider mental-health care as an oddity, but as a necessity. Therapists and psychiatrists should be available to everyone who needs them.

Until the atrocities cease, the spirit of our generation will ache with mourning. The power to stand on the right side of history is in your hands now.

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