Please don't forget the victims
“Do you feel safe in school?”
It’s a question they ask us every year, in a survey we take in school. I believe it’s right under the one that asks us if we have been bullied in the last six months.
I never have questioned my safety. I’ve lived in the same town since I was born, and the people around me I’ve known for the majority of my life. But it’s always times like this that I pause at the question, even if it’s just for a second.
As a child, I did not understood safety drills. They always used to tell us during fire drills not to take anything outside with us, not to go out of our way to grab anything. During intruder drills they tell us to stay quiet.
I always thought it was some game, at least in elementary school. I honestly didn’t take it very seriously. But it wasn’t until I got older that I understood what happened in other schools throughout the nation.
I have always known safety, known peace. The town I grew up in is quiet and good.
But many other places are not.
Twenty-six people died when I was 12 years old, in an elementary school that had only ever known peace. Many people forget that that only happened four years ago. Four years ago 20 children and six adults died, and somehow we know what peace is and they do not. They’ll never get that back.
Some people forget that it has been only 16 months since the last deadliest mass-shooting. Only 16 months ago 49 people died in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
How can we possibly forget that?
For the hundreds of lives that are affected by these events, for the hundreds of mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters affected by these events, they can never forget these days. One of the most important events in their lives: the day where they no longer know peace.
I am only 16 years old, and I have lived through approximately 160 mass-shootings in my lifetime so far. Some events get more coverage than others, and some are forgotten.
In times like this, the country rallies together, to tell stories of the people we lost, and kiss the wounds inflicted on the people that survived. It happens so often now I know how to tune it out, how to forget about it.
The people who lost their lives late Sunday, Oct. 1 and early Monday, Oct. 2 were in a safe place. Concerts are areas of love and joy, a place where everyone knows everyone else and we just accept it as it is. School is a place of learning and teaching, and it is a place for safety.
What transpired that day last week was no accident, and there most likely won’t be an explanation for it. Just as the man’s actions have no explanation, neither will the deaths.
Now I always pause when people ask me if I feel safe. My answer never changes, but my thoughts always last longer now.
I hope you don’t forget.