A nation desensitized

Every day students must find their way to overcome obstacles — talking to their crush, mean girls, locker room gossip, calculus homework, football tryouts, and — now — school shootings.

More so than any other country in the world, America faces the problem of gun violence. When kids should be worried about what they’re going to text their crush that evening or that upcoming Spanish test, instead we’re worried about what we will do if and when that alarm goes off in the hallways indicating there’s an active shooter on campus.

This is a problem no one expected would haunt us each and every day. We all thought Columbine would be the last time we’d see so many deaths and injuries plague our communities. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

We have run out of fingers to count how many times we’ve read a headline announcing yet another tragedy that could’ve been prevented or sat in silence with our neighbor, realizing our community would never be the same.

Columbine wasn’t the last time. Neither was Sandy Hook. Neither was Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

Our peers courageously took it upon themselves to speak up and act when our government couldn’t be bothered with anything more than extending their thoughts and prayers to those who lost their lives or loved ones. Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Alex Wind, Sofie Whitney and Delaney Tarr had to be the ones to yell to their nation, “Never Again.”

When lawmakers, NRA members, manufacturers, distributors, large corporations and American citizens who claim to be overwhelmed by their support of the 2nd amendment start to turn a blind eye, we — young students — remind them of our friends who will never attend their prom, never graduate, never get married or have their own kids, never fulfill their dreams and who were viciously murdered by assault weapons. Murdered by people who so easily got their hands on weapons of mass destruction.

Our nation is now filled with mass destruction, and there is no turning back.

It is the young people of our nation that hold the power to prevent future school shootings. Why? Each morning, we are scared walking into our classrooms with windows that don’t open, doors that don’t lock, with four walls that fail to include even a closet for our safety. Where would we go? What would we do? What if we never found out until it’s our best friend since elementary school or our favorite teacher falling to the ground with a bullet in their chest?

We, the students of America, have all been affected by gun violence. We can all rattle off names of schools that have experienced such devastation. We can all remember what we were doing when our lives turned upside down and we no longer felt safe at school.

The nation may have become desensitized to school shootings; but, we will never forget, and we will continue to chant, “Never Again.”

For more information, please visit http://www.neveragain.com.

Avery Cooper