Speak Now by columnist Maddie Raymond: finally safe from being shot at school

Tomorrow, I’ll be done with high school. I will leave the doors after the end of the fourth period never to return, at least not as a st...

Tomorrow, I’ll be done with high school. I will leave the doors after the end of the fourth period never to return, at least not as a student. After 12 years in the United States public education system, I am finished, ready to go to college and begin my adult life. Tomorrow, after 12 years, my parents will be able to breathe a sigh of relief because I will finally be safe from being shot at school.

I remember the day my mother told me about Sandy Hook. I was in third grade, and when she sat my brother and me down on the living room carpet to tell us what had happened, I took one look at her face and was convinced that my father was dead. My father is still alive, but I learned that day that 20 kindergartners—kids who were only a few years younger than me at the time—were not; they were shot by someone who had been given a gun when they shouldn’t have. And on Tuesday, May 24, in Uvalde, Texas, it happened again.

Since I first heard about Sandy Hook ten years ago, school shootings have always been in the back of my mind. That year, school lockdown drills began to take on a different meaning. Instead of just sitting quietly with the lights off, wondering what sort of wild animal or unwanted visitor had wandered around, we started crouching behind the professor’s desk and sneaking around the compartments. We packed up like sardines and waited in the dark until the police arrived and told us we were safe. In college, my friend started picking up her water bottle to use as a weapon whenever a lockout was called, just in case. After the end, we would swap stories about what we would do if a shooter came along, whether it was picking up a baseball bat or just running right at them. It’s become a running joke, something we thought could never happen and happen tomorrow at the same time.

When I first heard about this shooting, I was numb. There have been so many in my life, from my first baptism by fire in Sandy Hook to Parkland and El Paso. My first instinct was to close; not to let my thoughts dwell on the children who died lest I collapse. I tossed and turned, wracked with anxiety and guilt before finally letting go and sobbing in front of the stove thinking of children the same age as the adorable children I had taught to ski last winter. shoot it. With only two days of school, I should be celebrating my graduation, but now I remember that I was one of the lucky ones who made it out of American public school alive.

From soggy French fries to long math classes, my public school experience hasn’t always been perfect. But to succeed in these conferences; going to the cafeteria and back and then doing it again 180 times until the last day of school every year should be a given, not a privilege. Kids shouldn’t have to crouch in the dark to remind their friends to be quiet so the school shooter doesn’t attack them first. They shouldn’t have to stare at their high school classmates wondering which kid sitting at the back of the class might one day decide they’ve had enough and pick up a gun to kill them all. We can’t fix the structural issues that drive people to commit these shootings in one day, but we can make it harder for these people to grab a gun and cause so much violence.

So that’s my call for stricter gun control. I know we have the privilege in our state of Massachusetts to require gun licenses, but in states like Texas where the shooting happened, no such laws are currently in place. . We must rally together to pressure representatives to withhold payouts from the NRA and other gun lobbyists who have prevented the passage of any meaningful gun control legislation. From the summer of 2020 through election season, we have seen before the impact of a powerful national movement on our legislators. It’s time to reaffirm our support for grassroots gun control movements like the March for Our Lives, whether by donating time or opening up our scholarships. As always, we can redistribute wealth to those most directly affected by this latest massive outbreak of gun violence – GoFundMes for the Uvalde shooting victims and their communities abound.

By the time this article is published, I will be out of high school and out of harm’s way. Yet, the young victims of the Uvalde shooting, the victims of Sandy Hook and Parkland and El Paso and Columbine and all the other public schools, that will never be the case. They will forever be school-aged, missed out on the place that was supposed to be their refuge. As my senior year of high school draws to a close, I remember the immense privilege of being able to walk through the school gates safe and sound every day, and I remind myself that it shouldn’t be Thus.

Madeline Raymond, who lives in the hills, writes a monthly column.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Speak Now by columnist Maddie Raymond: finally safe from being shot at school
Speak Now by columnist Maddie Raymond: finally safe from being shot at school
Newsrust - US Top News
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