“But it didn’t happen,” is the chill response I got from some friends (and my mom!) after learning that we may have been tiptoeing along the asymptote of terror. Apparently being on the brink of tragedy doesn’t cut it anymore, and why should it? Our generation found perverse unity in the wholly American constancy of lockdown drills, in the nonchalance of backpack searches and school security cameras. If you were to print the Wikipedia page for “List of School Shootings in the United States,” it would be 172 pages long. (For comparison, “List of awards and nominations received by Meryl Streep” is just 35.)
Gun violence is so routine that it’s easy to forget that we’re living in an international abnormality.
In my high school debate class, there was a sign that hung on the wall, reading, “Hire a teenager while they still know everything.” And it was funny, I guess, in the condescending brand of humor that adults like. This piece of decoration was so trivial in the scheme of my life and education but, for some reason, I can’t get it out of my head right now. In the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, I have found myself asking, “Can teenagers save us?”
It would be an unfair burden to put on the back of these survivors of immense trauma, but they seem to be already picking up the pieces, assuming the responsibility. And what they have accomplished in mere days following the tragedy is absolutely awe-inspiring. So, maybe the answer to the gun-control debate has been to recruit some teenagers all along.
When I was younger, I thought the idea of two guys fighting over me was very Shakespearean and dreamy. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that fighting over a girl was just a concept that men have romanticized to excuse their toxic masculinity, violent tendencies and feelings of ownership over women. And no two guys have ever liked me at the same time, but that is beside the point. When violence and romance become entangled it is usually a bad sign. Earlier this month, Nikolas Cruz used an AR – 15 to kill 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
Voices flock to controversy like bees to honey. The case surrounding the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting is no outlier — without delay, a multitude of sentiments regarding the affair has peppered the national landscape. As in prior responses to tragedy, we have heard vehement accounts from survivors, onlookers, afflicted families, and of course, politicians. This is precisely what we would hope for in response to an unthinkable calamity, is it not? Hardly.