School Is Out, but the Fear of Gun Violence Is Not

School is out, and I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief.

But are my worries truly gone?

This past year at school has been surrounded by headlines of gun violence. Headlines that instill fear in all of us. I can remember stepping into my high school the day after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and despite feeling deep empathy for those students, I felt fear for my peers and myself.

Months went on where uneasiness became a dull and unrelenting feeling. Going to school felt like a risk.

But now we’re out. Summer break has finally arrived, and my worries of gun violence had seemed to subside. But the headlines didn’t stop. Almost every day, we hear of an instance of gun violence. When we hear about it at a school, the punch feels a little bit harder. It’s close to home, it’s too real. Even still, I’ve come to learn that even though I’m out of school, gun violence is still as big a threat as any.

Paige Curry, a survivor of the Santa Fe shooting, quotes that “[it’s] been happening everywhere. I’ve always felt it would eventually happen here too”, speaking about her own school.

While the most publicized cases of gun violence are often in schools, like Paige said, it’s happening everywhere. Think back to the 2012 Aurora shooting in Colorado or minorities like Trayvon Martin who are killed on cold pavement.

According to The Washington Post, school shootings are still considered extremely rare, “representing a tiny fraction of the gun violence epidemic.” We all have a right to be scared, despite the fact that American students are on summer vacation. It simply means that we have one less place to be afraid of gun violence. In this case, keeping your guard up might just be the best thing.

Stories like Sandy Hook are undoubtedly heart-wrenching. They give us a reason to want to fight. And while this inspiration is imperative to the fight against gun violence, we must remember that schools aren’t the only place where blood is shed by gunfire.

If we’re going to tackle this issue, we have to think bigger. Let’s not take it step by step, but take it head on. Gun violence is a threat to all of us, not just students. But while we have these few months off, let’s take the time to actually do something about it.

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