COLUMN: Life is too short

On the morning of Sunday, Oct. 16, my life changed for the better.

That morning I was walking back from an event hosted at my friend’s school in Atlanta. All was well; people were smiling, the promenade was getting cleaned up from the night before, and students were meeting up by the library to keep the night going.

Everybody was there, the only thing that was missing was the music. Soon enough, the school’s DJ came out to start the party. And then, everything took a turn for the worse.

All I heard were gunshots.

People started screaming. People started running. People started ducking and diving. We were seeing bodies falling to the ground and the shots were not stopping anytime soon.

It started as a normal day and ended in tragedy.

I do not know how to feel quite yet. Even after all this time, it still is all so fresh. I have no idea if I’ll ever bounce back from that day. But this tragedy taught me that life is way too short.

I remember running inside to call my family and tell them what happened. It was scary. I thought my life would have been over, but God had other plans for me. Encountering the face of death had me reflecting on all the things I wanted to pursue in life and did in life.

At that moment I thought about my dad, my hero and my biggest supporter. I thought about my sisters and what our relationship was like and if it could be better. I thought about my brothers and what our relationship was like. I thought about my mom and stepmom, and what our relationship was like.

I can only remember the last thing I said to them all, which was about how much I loved them. Because we never know when the last time we will see each other will be. It is my priority to make it a point to say it daily to them. Reflecting on that made me realize how short life is. I want to do so much in life, but I kept holding myself back and pushing everything off to the side. There is no point in putting off everything for another day. You cannot do that either.

In 2020, there were nearly 610 -2 mass shootings per day,” according to Reader’s Digest, “Gun Violence Statistics- American Gun Violence by the Numbers.” Roughly 513 people were killed due to mass shootings and over 2,543 people were injured.”

More than 3,000 people were affected by gun violence in 2020. And that’s not including the homicide or law enforcement violence statistics.

But according to Campus Safety Magazine, 51 Years of Data: K-12 School Shooting Statistics Everyone Should Know, “Since 1970, there have been 1,924 incidents involving the discharge of a firearm on school property and 637 people have died.”

Way too many students have died on campus due to gun violence. This is because of the lack of gun control, campus security, and administrations not caring about what the students are going through and dealing with.

Did you know that there were over 200 school shootings in America in 2021? This year was the highest year with school shooting incidents. This year, beat out 2019, which had 119 school shooting incidents. California, Texas, and Florida are the states with the highest number of incidents. Something needs to change.

There is no reason kids should be scared to just walk into a classroom, a school, or a school event and fear for their lives. It is sick, twisted, and sad. School should be one of the biggest safe spaces for us, but it’s not.

We’re supposed to go to school to learn, grow, and change; you shouldn’t fear for your life at all. People shouldn’t have to worry about making it home safely daily. We should be able to go out there and live our lives to the fullest without having to worry about if someone is going to shoot up the place or not.

After I went through that, it made me so angry. I was angry that we, as students, couldn’t even go to college and have the time of our lives. College is supposed to be the best time of your life. You’re away from home, finding yourself, networking, making lifelong friendships, and working towards your dream career. I cannot stress this enough; something needs to change. I want to live life without fearing for my life.

Everybody should have that privilege.

There need to be stricter gun laws. There needs to be more access to mental health care. This country needs to get a grip and focus on the bigger picture. Everybody needs access to mental health care. We would be better off as a society if we took mental health seriously.

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