A dark note on our current state

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I had many plans for what I wanted my final BroadwayWorld post to be as a student blogger. Since I just graduated and the program only lasts until then, I knew my last one had to be special. I considered writing an article about the fear of entering the real world and exploring the possibilities that life is entirely in your hands. The idea crossed my mind to write about my experience writing for this fantastic website and how it helped me grow both as a writer and as a person over the two last years. There were a million ideas.

Yet when I sat down to finally write this mystical post that would sum up my time as a student blogger for BroadwayWorld, I couldn’t write any of it. My mind was stuck on the tragedy that happened recently at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. There was no way I could even think of writing anything else. Not when my heart was broken and fury rushing through my veins like never before.

Because once again, a mass shooting that results in devastating casualties has changed our lives and our world, but almost nothing changes.

And I’m sick of it and I’m sick of it.

I’m only 22, which to many still seems young. But in those 22 years of my life, I have sadly experienced some of the most horrific and inhumane tragedies that never seem to end completely. Although I was born in 2000, I have only known a post-9/11 world and that alone was significantly different from what past generations have known. The Columbine shooting happened almost exactly one year to the day before I was born, and like many others my age, I haven’t known peace in our entire lives.

The first mass shooting I really remember hearing about was at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I was twelve years old and still attending elementary/middle school which provided my education until eighth grade. Details are hazy as to how or why the topic was brought up, but I remember the sickening feeling that settled in my stomach and the pain in my heart. How could such a thing happen? How could the innocent lives of little children be brought to such a terrible end? And even though I’ve been practicing containment drills ever since I set foot in a preschool, I couldn’t imagine something like this actually happening.

It just got worse from there. Suddenly, every year of my life has been defined by a deadly mass shooting, and somehow worse than the last. 2016: Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. 2017: Route 91 Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. 2018: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 2019: Walmart in El, Paso Texas. Etc. It never ends. These were just the events that captured national attention, but there were thousands of other shootings that occurred in each of those years. In 2022 alone, there’s more than enough to try to remember and it’s only early June.

At this point, sad as it sounds, it’s a cycle of wash and repeat. We are desensitized. How not to be when these events are so frequent? We are traumatized and cannot exist without being nervous about losing our lives just by doing everyday activities like going to school, grocery shopping, or church. It is our reality.

But that must change. Now.

The fact that life in the United States means less than a gun is mind-boggling and simply disappointing. It shouldn’t be like that. It doesn’t have to be that way. I know more than ever that I will not give up this fight until something is done. For these 19 children and two teachers who lost their lives in Texas, we all send an enormous amount of love to your families and your community. Change is going to happen and no more lives will be lost in horrific events like this.

The message is clear. End gun violence.

That’s all.

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