By Ori Jay Korngold-Finkelstein
I am terrified to go to school each day. Intrusive thoughts constantly race through my head.
What if my teachers, office staff or best friends get shot? What if the only people who have made me feel not alone and proud of who I am are killed?
It takes one bullet, in one gun, for a life to be taken. A shooting is one of the most traumatic events a person can experience, and only in our society is this imminent.
The possibility of an armed person attacking my school is rising, and I can’t do anything about it. I am too young to vote, too young to drive, too young to be taken seriously, too young to have all of my human rights respected.
However, I should have the right to not be terrified of my loved ones dying every time someone’s computer closes, or their water bottle falls or a door slams. Every sharp bang is 10 minutes of panic, fear and anxiety, driving me to plan what I would do if there were an active shooter instead of paying attention to my teachers.
Fear of a shooting should not be what I’m concerned about during my day. I should be learning. I should be worried about normal kid stuff, like, what’s for lunch? How did my math test go? When do I have to leave for swim practice?
Instead, I dwell on the fact I might not see the end of the day. I have a petrifying personal plan, a plan for every corner a gun could point around.
My teachers can hardly open their exterior classroom doors without getting in trouble. We can’t get fresh air, and we can’t take a chance.
Because it’s the cracked open door’s fault, not the person with insufficient mental health care, who was allowed a gun that can kill my friends, teachers and loved ones with one pull of a trigger.
I am begging you to stand up for those without a voice, or the eligibility to vote.
I am begging you to help instate better regulations on who can own what type of gun.
I may be in eighth grade, but I know an 18-year-old without stable mental health should not have access to an AR-15.
I should not have to worry about this, but I do.
Please stand up for me and my peers, because I do not want to be the next districtwide email, or trending Instagram hashtag.
This post originally appeared in the Daily Camera, 6/7/2022, and is re-posted here with the permission of the author.