More Than A Number

by Grace McCarthy

Rachel Scott, Ross Alameddine, Gayle Dubowski, Adriel Johnson, Noah Pozner, Nicholas Dwaret. Six people from six different walks of life with absolutely no affiliation with each other until they were brutally murdered by the use of an automatic weapon in their school. I chose these six individuals for no particular reason besides the fact that they are members of a statistic, each one representing one one hundred twenty-secondth of the people killed by an automatic weapon since the shooting at Columbine.

We have grown so accustomed to witnessing tragedy after tragedy that we have taught ourselves to move on. We have gone numb. We, as a society, have failed to consider the fullness of each and every victim of a mass shooting. A tragedy occurs and twitter erupts until the next week, when another news story breaks, and all of a sudden, Ross and Rachel are no more than a statistic.

We have grown up in the Age of Mass Shootings. An age that normalizes the use of assault weapons and a society where Congressmen care more about their donations from the NRA than the safety of their constituents. We cannot continue to be fake activists, caring for a matter of days after a tragedy, but doing nothing to actually affect change. We cannot continue to bystand and allow for our government to continue to fail to represent the needs of the people they were elected to represent. We must also never forget that this is not about mental illness, this is about guns. This has always been about guns.

We can not continue to allow for innocent life after innocent life to be taken at the hands of an AR-15. As a community of students, it is our mere responsibility to humanize every single victim in the Florida shooting last week. We are the people who can affect change. We are the people who can prove, as Malala Yousafzai once said, that the pen is mightier than the sword.