No March school shootings for first time in 18 years: it took a worldwide pandemic

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Jade Pinkowitz

There have been school shootings in March every year for the past 18 years until 2020.

I’ve lived for 18 years and for the entirety of my time on Earth, a constant tragedy has existed: school shootings.

With every dark tunnel, there is a light at the end; right now we’re fighting through a dark tunnel. But the light that we see this time is also an unfortunate one: for the first time in 18 years, there hasn’t been a school shooting in the month of March. While this is obviously a good thing, it’s also devastating because the only reason we can celebrate that is that students were not in school for most of the month. It took one tragedy to prevent another

We spend more than six hours a day at school and to many students, it’s a second home—a place to feel safe and comfortable.

So why did we let a safe education stop being the reality for kids? When did children’s lives become a political game of chess? Why did it take a worldwide pandemic and school closures to pause school shootings? 

I remember the first time I heard about a school shooting. I was in fourth grade and life was simple. I had classes in the morning, lunch and recess, afternoon classes, then it repeated daily. That’s how it’s supposed to be for kids in fourth grade: safe, easy, and pure.

But when I learned about the Sandy Hook shooting, my innocent life shattered into a million pieces—nothing was the same. That could have easily been my school. It could have been me. Innocence ceases to exist when you realize that.

As I’ve grown, I’ve learned more about the terrifying reality of our society, and when I learned about the Columbine shooting, it made even less sense that anyone could have let Sandy Hook happen.

It seemed as if the Columbine shooting ignited an infinite fire; a new reality for Generation Z that would end up in the history books.

History class has always taught us that America was the underdog, that we desperately wanted freedom and rose above other countries’ doubts. But this is not the reality my generation has experienced. Sadly, our reality is that politicians would rather keep greedy businesses happy instead of protecting our children, our education, and our future. 

“Guns don’t kill, people do.” Yes, but guns don’t sit in prison for murder, guns don’t walk themselves into a school with malicious intent to kill, and guns don’t pull their own trigger. But without a trigger to pull, more than 300 victims of school shootings alone would still be alive today.

How much more blood has to drip onto the floors of school buildings until you feel ill enough to take action? How many more students need to hide under desks surrounded by flying bullets for you to know that enough is enough? Why does it take a worldwide pandemic that closed schools to begin to break the cycle of students being massacred?

And when we finally do go back to school, will we go back to being unsafe? Will we return to activeshooter drills? Will we have to revert to the constant worry of being shot during classes? This shouldn’t be my reality. This shouldn’t be anyone’s reality.

But here we are, scared once again, hoping that the same people who couldn’t be bothered to protect children with the reassurance of gun control will be the same ones to find a solution that will keep us safe from Covid-19. Forgive me if your track record fails to instill me with a sense of hope that my life matters.

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