Gun Violence and How It Shapes a Generation

Emma Schifferl, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

Note: The following article is about the difficult topic of school shootings and therefore may not be for everyone. It is also entirely the opinion of its writer.


Parkland. Sandy Hook. Columbine. Oxford. These are the names that I can remember off the top of my head when it comes to the all-too-many school shootings that have occurred in the United States. I was born in 2005. In the 16 years that I’ve been alive, around 253 school shooting have occurred. That’s approximately 15.8 school shootings per year. PER YEAR.

The first school shooting that I knew about was Sandy Hook. That happened on December 14, 2012. I was 7. While I was getting ready for Christmas, holiday parties, and seeing my family, 28 people (including 20 children who were my age) were gunned down. I couldn’t get over it: kids my age were gunned down in their school. They were probably telling everyone their gift lists and learning how to write cursive. It is now the 9th anniversary of that terrible day. The parents, family, and friends of Sandy Hook victims have to wake up and remember the day when they learned that their sons and daughters, still children, were murdered in their school.

When I was in 7th grade, I went home from school after a seemingly normal Valentine’s Day. It was then that I learned that Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, had been the site of a school shooting. Valentine’s Day had been interrupted. The shooter, who was a student, killed 17 of his classmates. I remember watching the news that night; my heart dropped to the pit of my stomach. I remember looking at my mom and asking her what had happened. She told me that a student had entered the school and murdered 17 people.

I remember going to bed that night so confused and so scared. I was 12 years old, and my first thought when I went to school in the morning was “What if this happens to me?” The days and weeks that followed February 14 were filled with questions, fear, and anger. I remember that my principal had sent an email explaining that the administration understood the situation and would allow students to walk out of class. Students on the intercom  would talk about the situation. I never cried so much and so hard as that day. I only stopped crying because I couldn’t cry anymore.

I’m now 16. From the events that happened in my seventh grade to now, I wouldn’t say much has changed. After the most recent shooting in Oxford, Michigan, I felt compelled to write an article regarding my stance. I can reflect on quite a few things.


1.) To the politicians. . .

Actions speak louder than words. I am sick and tired of the fake sympathy and scripted response you have every time a school shooting happens. If you are not trying to stop the situation, you are only hurting the people hurt by it. Children are not expendable, so stop treating us like it. Just because an amendment exists doesn’t mean you should try to justify it when a school shootings happens. If you say you care about school and the people who work and learn within it, do something about it.


2.) To the people who tell kids to calm down. . .

When kids who are my age and and younger are being murdered in their classrooms, I have every right to be upset. You have no right to tell grieving people how to cope. I wake up every day with a small voice in the back of my head wondering if today will be the day that a school shooting happens.

Children shouldn’t have to wonder if there’s a bullet with their name on it when they enter school. I should be worrying about whether the cafeteria has bosco sticks. I’m willing to worry about my math test or my frogs in AP Biology. I want to have conversations with my teachers and do cool experiments and laugh with my friends over a silly inside joke. What I do not want to have to worry about is which door I should run to if an intruder walks into the building.

Instead of just worrying about an assignment or learning in class, students learn about school shooting drills. I don’t want to have to worry what door I have to run to in case an intruder gets into the building. I want to be a normal teenager.