By JOHNNY FLORES JR/Coachella Unincorporated
My parents drop me off at school everyday. They say goodbye and wish me a good day. They trust that all will go well that day and that I will be able to share my day with them at dinnertime.
But the parents of 20 boys and girls at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, faced the unimaginable. After sending them off to school, as my parents do everyday, these parents learned their children would not be coming home from school on December 14. A gunman had shot his way into their school and murdered their children and six educators.
Horrific, tragic, horrible, heartbreaking. These are just some of the words that have been used to describe this mass shooting, but they can’t truly describe the despair and helplessness we all feel.
I questioned the safety of movie theaters in July after a shooting in an Aurora, Colorado, theater. To me, that was as terrible a mass shooting as I could imagine. But the brightness of the classrooms in Newton turned out to be as unsafe of the darkness of the movie theater in Aurora.
As a high school student, this tragedy really hit home for me. Are we safe at school? Should our parents pull us out of school or sit with us in class? What if this had happened at my school? What if this had happened at my sisters’ school? What if this happens again?
After pondering these questions at length, I still cannot comprehend this shooting. I understand that tragedies like this cannot be foreseen, and that they can’t be dealt with until after they occur. But there has to be something we can do to prevent this from happening again. I just don’t know what that would be.
Now schools, including my own, are taking additional measures to ensure the safety of students: installing security cameras, closing unnecessary gates, creating check-in stations, and more. However, even with these extra precautions, the sad truth is that we must remind ourselves that something can always happen. This is the world we now live in.
For now, we must unite in the memory of our fallen fellow Americans. I pray that somehow these families find closure after such tragedy. And I pray that such a tragedy never occurs at my school, my sisters’ school, or any other school.