BLOG POST 23 / #ENOUGH
The shooting at Columbine High School happened on April 20, 1999. Nearly 20 years ago now. I was a junior at Buchanan at the time. On that day in April, the term "school shooting" officially entered my teenage consciousness. It hadn't existed for me before then. Unfortunately, it remains a part of society's lexicon today, as school shooting after school shooting continues to happen. In 2018, the memory of Columbine has almost been completely painted over by the memories of all the shootings since. Together, they've created a disgusting mural of violence, innocence lost, and fear that we need to stop adding fresh paint to.
In 1999, the students at Buchanan painted a huge mural of support for the students of Columbine. We rolled out the construction paper and covered it phrases like "Buchanan High School stands with Columbine" and "BHS loves CHS." In 2018, that doesn't cut it anymore. A painted sign isn't going to keep another school shooting from happening. But bringing the issue to the doorsteps of our elected officials and making it something they can't ignore just might.
Seeing thousands of students across the country do just that today by walking out of school as part of the #Enough National Walk Out is both awe-inspiring and sad. Sad, because we've left it up to our children, not even old enough to vote, to sound the alarm about the need for change in our gun laws; but incredible because these teens are getting involved. They're tuning in instead of checking out, and isn't that what we've wanted them to do all along? There's so much complaining about how complacent and uninformed kids are these days. Well, they're finally engaging. Today they put down their screens and picked up signs. It's just that they've chosen to get involved in such a divisive topic that some don't want to hear what they have to say and refuse to recognize that they're finally using their voices.
I hope our lawmakers listen to what they have to say and take their concerns seriously. It's not so much a walkout (an excuse to miss class, some might say) as it is the most important civics field trip ever. One that might be life or death for some of the kids involved. Maybe if students in my class had done something more than just paint a sign, we'd be farther along in this process by now. Maybe we could have prevented some of the school shootings that have happened over the last two decades if we'd spoken up. But I think we all still felt relatively safe back then. It says a great deal that kids today feel they have no other choice but to protest in order to get that sense of security back.
I'm grateful to this generation for finally speaking up. I hope we can all listen to what they have to say. That's the least we go do for them.