The Vanderbilt Hustler | ABEL: Why do we prepare for death? | Wender Mind Kids

 The Vanderbilt Hustler |  ABEL: Why do we prepare for death?

“Something happens. All walk. We are safe dear you boys.”

I texted my parents under a table at a restaurant where my friends and I were huddled with hundreds of others. We had been downtown for the DC Pride Parade when there were a lot of people calculated toward us, screaming and throwing metal barriers in their way. A woman screamed for gunshots as she climbed over a metal barricade. I desperately searched for my friends and my little sister as I ran up the street.

It was a false alarm, a stampede, a man with a BB gun threatening to shoot another man. The crowd thought the sounds made by the falling metal barriers were gunshots.

videos from above showed a street full of thousands of parade-goers screaming, running and hiding behind cars. Conditional anticipating shootings in our schools, churches, theaters, grocery stores and hometowns every day, our first instinct was to run away and panic. Even in a celebration of love and joy, we weren’t surprised that someone wanted to hurt us.

My sister and I – and the thousands of people who gathered there that day to celebrate – were unharmed. My parents have all three of their children safely home every night when they go to bed.

Robb Elementary, Marjory Stoneman Douglass, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Red Lake and Santa Fe’s children weren’t so lucky. The children killed in 2,032 school shootings in the US since 1970 have not been so lucky. The bereaved parents and traumatized classmates left with physical and emotional scars aren’t so lucky. Since 1999 shoot at Columbine High School, almost 300,000 students were on campus during a school shooting.

Because we were conditioned to expect shootings every day in our schools, churches, theaters, grocery stores and hometowns, our first instinct was to run and panic.”

When I was 10, there were kids my age murdered at her elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. I’ve seen former President Obama go on the news and promise change. I remember being stunned to see the President crying on TV. I didn’t think adults, especially presidents, could break down and cry. When I was 16, there were kids my age murdered in their freshman classrooms in Parkland, Florida. When my colleagues and I took to the streets of DC protestI’ve seen former President Trump go on the news and promise change. When I was 18 I did watched on Tiktok when kids my age made memorial videos for their classmates who were killed at Oxford High School. And last week after children were murdered in their classrooms UvaldeI watched President Biden go on the news and promise change.

I didn’t want to write about school shootings. I’ve tried turning off the news, going for a walk, talking about it one more thing. But every few months there’s the same headline, the same queasy feeling, the loss of American children. When I was asked if we would cover gun violence, I hoped someone else would. There was no way I knew where my voice played a role, my sadness, or my grief in this story, because I’m one of the lucky ones.

I chose to write about gun violence because our generation is involved in this fight. Our generation includes thousands of school shooting survivors. Our generation includes traumatized Gun violence survivors thrown into politics. Our generation includes those who experienced trauma at a young age that altered their life outcomes and stunted brain development. Our generation has grown up prepare encounter bullets.

When I was 10 years old, during a lockdown drill at my elementary school in Virginia, I decided that if a gunman came, I would pretend I was dead.”

We are the generation that grew up doing lockdown exercises. We taped a piece of black paper over the rectangular window on the classroom door. We knew our school code words, had action plans, and knew there were people out there who wanted to hurt us. Even sitting there behind the teacher’s desk or in compartments, we knew not to nudge each other or giggle. We knew that the hand shaking the doorknob and shouting “let us in” was the director and security guards pretending to be someone who wanted to hurt us. We’re the generation that knows to zigzag if someone shoots at you.

When I was 10 years old during a lockdown exercise in my Virginia Elementary school, I decided to pretend I was dead if a gunman came along. I knew I wasn’t going as fast as the other kids, but I was on the swim team and thought maybe I could hold my breath longer. In Uvalde, aged eleven Miah Cerrillo smeared herself with her best friend’s blood and pretended to be dead. Her classmate died, saving her life. This didn’t happen in a war zone, but in her fourth grade classroom.

When children are murdered in their classrooms in elementary school and your first thought is, “Don’t talk about taking my guns” and not “How can we stop this from happening again?” then we have no political disagreement. We have a difference in morals.

The fourth years in Uvalde had been Watch after “Lilo and Stitch” when they were brutally murdered. Instead of worrying about getting invited to birthday parties, making friends, and who to play with during recess, elementary school students learn to play dead to avoid school shootings.

There is a big difference between experiencing the rite of passage, where a young boy and his grandfather go deer hunting with a family gun, and buying a weapon of war. While I personally don’t believe owning a gun is a cultural rite of passage, I understand the impossibility of banning guns. I am not advocating barging into the home of every gun-owned American and dumping them in the ocean. I’m not telling law-abiding citizens to give up their guns.

There is only one way to honor all the children and school staff who have lost their lives to gun violence – inside and outside the classroom – and that is gun reform.

Let’s treat our guns the same way we register anything potentially dangerous – our cars, controlled explosions, infectious diseases. Leit is Ban offensive weapons aHigh capacity ammo magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Let’s create a federal database to track gun sales just like we have a federal database to track demographic information, crime statistics and even flu cases. Let’s raise the minimum purchase age a gun from 18 to 21, like Florida did after the mass shooting of Stoneman Douglass.

Polls are clear that a majority of Americans support many gun control measures, including general background checks and bans on assault weapons. A majority over both sides across the political divide — 85% Republicans and 90% Democrats — support policies that would prevent people with mental illness from buying guns. in the a Gallup poll After the mass shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde, the percentage of Americans satisfied with the country’s gun policy dropped from 20% to 13%. Those who were dissatisfied preferred stricter laws.

In twenty years, will my son also be asked to tape black paper over the rectangular classroom window and cuddle in cubes with his friends? If my daughter is involved in a school shooting, will she also choose to play dead?”

Let’s make it harder for an 18-year-old in Texas to buy assault rifles – than that Uvalde Sagittarius did the day after his birthday. Let’s follow the lead of our Canadian neighbors. After the Uvalde school shooting, Canada implemented bill C-25, expanded background checks, banned 1,500 types of military-style assault weapons, launched a buyback program, and required rifle magazines to be permanently altered to never hold more than 5 rounds. This new legislation initiates a freeze on handguns, making it nearly impossible to buy, sell and transfer handguns in the country.

“Gun ownership is a privilege, not a right,” Canada’s Minister for Emergency Preparedness said Bill Blair said, adding that unlike “our colleagues and friends in the South … guns are for hunting and sporting purposes only.”

I moved to Texas two years ago and am doing my summer internship in an ER. A decade after I vowed to play dead during a school shooting practice, I’m still confronted with that realities of gun violence every single day. I’ve seen more shooting victims brought in by ambulance in the past week than I ever thought possible in my entire life. In Texas there are women 24% more likely are murdered with a gun than women in other states. It is impossible to live in this state, work in health care and exist as an American without being exposed to gun violence.

I don’t want my future children to grow up like me. In twenty years, will my son also be asked to tape black paper over the rectangular classroom window and cuddle in cubes with his friends? Will my daughter also choose to play dead if she is involved in a school shooting? Will politicians still be unable or unwilling to pass laws that will protect my future children?

Governor Abbott, Senator Cruz, President Biden, leaders in Congress – how many more children in our nation must be murdered before you will act? Don’t promise to do anything, offer your condolences, and then move on to the next disaster.

How many of our classmates have to die before things change?