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PLSouthside Scroll

PLSouthside Scroll

COMMENTARY: Abrupt end to a promising start

Sullivan Bunyan

On Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and shot and killed 20 children and six adults. I remember my family’s shock. I was in first grade at the time, and I had no idea the youngest victims were my age. 

I am now a senior, and like every senior, I have imagined myself walking across the stage at graduation and basking in my accomplishment, looking at my peers, my friends, my family. All the memories come flooding in, and I begin to reminisce about everything I’ve experienced: funny conversations, stressful tests, sad breakups. It’s something everyone should experience. 

This year in Newtown, some graduation seats won’t be filled. And whilst, for me, it’s easy to talk or just think about, it’s so much harder to actually comprehend. The last four years of my life have been so utterly expansive that it’s hard to accept that so many young people would be robbed of these experiences. 

One of my favorite memories is my mom taking me out into a parking lot to teach me how to drive. It was such an ordinary moment, but something that we now cherish. Or how my dad helped me navigate through a job interview, showing me how to professionally present myself, how to write a resume and many other things.

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These memories are small, in retrospect, to the rest of my life – but I love them. So the idea of everything, even the miniscule, being ripped away bewilders me.

Sandy Hook is not the only school to suffer this loss. Each day 12 children are killed by a firearm, and 32 are injured by one, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. I could never imagine coming home one day and hearing the news that someone I love was taken from me that quick. 

Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, more than 338,000 students have experienced gun violence at school, according to The Washington Post. Many families won’t get to see their kids grow up, accomplish and overcome challenges. They won’t get to take photos of their kids beside a tree or a wall; they won’t measure them and laugh about how they have or haven’t grown. They can’t teach their kids how to drive or write a resume or how to present themselves for a job interview. 

But what’s most sickening is how much we fight – how we divide ourselves so much in the name of politics – when at the end of the day, two completely different opposing views share a common interest: safety for our lives in school. 

So far, fighting hasn’t protected 338,000 students from gun violence. 

And as I’ve matured, I’ve begun to think about how our fights don’t achieve anything. Arguing and arguing won’t stop a bullet, it won’t stop a barrel pointed at me. Action will, any sort of action will. 

We’ve passed some laws to try and protect schools; yet little changes, and kids still fear. That in itself is heart wrenching. We shouldn’t ever fear being in school, yet many still do.

The other risk is desensitization. Our country by far has the most mass shootings of any country in the world, and it’s sad to say that  we’ve started to become used to it. We grieve and grieve about innocent lives lost, but within weeks a vast majority of people will have forgotten the event happened.

I remember walking through the halls in middle school after a school shooting was reported on the news, and people were shook.The next week, jokes about the shooting were surfacing. People put up a facade of calling it “dark humor,” but in reality there’s nothing funny about it.

As we seniors step out into the adult world, we owe it to the kids of Sandy Hook to help pave the way for a better future. Even in the darkest times where fear looms over us, we must trudge on, we must act. Because we all want to stop seeing any empty seats.

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About the Contributor
Sullivan Bunyan, Staff Reporter
Hello, my name is Sullivan Bunyan and I'm a Junior this year on Titan Legacy Magazine. I enjoy reading books, playing games and paintball. Among other things I love to ski with friends and others.
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