Never Again

About six months ago, while going through my phone, I managed to drop the device right in the middle of my forehead. Brilliant. Upon removing the brick-like object from my face, I hit some buttons and managed to accidentally open the News app. Prior to this moment, I had never really given much thought to this specific app. If anything, I was annoyed with it for taking up desired space on my phone. However, there was something about it being opened for the first time that intrigued me to the point that I couldn’t avoid it any longer. Within minutes, I had subscribed to a handful of different sources and waited for the bombardment of knowledge and insight to be delivered. If I had known what notification I would receive only a week later, I may have rethought my decision.

 

On October 1st, 2017, a lone shooter opened fire on a country music festival taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over 50 spectators were murdered with injuries totaling well over 500 individuals. From the minute I read the first headline on a banner across the top of my phone, my heart sunk. How could this even be possible? A music festival is supposed to be a place of cheer and joy, not fear and death.

Since this horrific event occurred, it seems as if all I see on my News app are stories about gun violence. It has become so prevalent that it could be considered similar to a pandemic disease; spreading to every corner of our country and infecting every person with sorrow and fear. There are no longer safe havens in the United States. Churches, offices, schools, and music festivals are just a short list of the locations that have been affected by gun violence over the years. I’m old enough to remember a time when Code Red drills were not ingrained in my mind and the thought of guns being brought to school was absurd. However, I am also young enough to have lived through Code Red situations at my own high school. While, thankfully, guns were never fired in my personal experiences, I can’t accurately explain the panic and dread that takes over when you are locked in a room with nothing standing between yourself and a possible shooter except a locked wooden door.

 

Our country is broken in many ways and it has been for a long time. While I do not blame our government for the people who have lost their lives due to gun violence, I do blame them for their unwillingness to do anything about it for so long. Every morning the first thing I see is a banner on my phone discussing the senseless murder of another student, friend, family member, daughter, nephew, grandson, etc and each and every day it kills me a little more inside. This weekend, while I did not physically participate in the March for Our Lives, I would like to express that I stand with those that did and have an incredible amount of respect for everyone that attended. I regret not being able to be present, but from what I can tell, the numbers were high and the message was shared loud and clear.

I want to live in a country where I can comfortably leave my house without the fear of meeting an active shooter sitting in the back of my mind. I want to live in a country where I don’t receive alerts from my phone daily that tell me another human has lost his or her life due to gun violence. I want to live in a country where I would feel comfortable sending my future children off to school every morning and knowing deep down inside that they will be returned safely to me later on that evening. I want to live in a country where an article like this does not need to exist because my government focuses less on politics and more on what is best for the people as a whole. I want to live in a country where gun violence is not the norm to the point I don’t feel surprise when a tragedy occurs. I want to live in a country where I feel safe.

If you, like me, did not march this weekend, that’s totally fine. However, this battle is nowhere near over. Sign petitions like the one at https://marchforourlives.com/ and show our government your stance. Stay educated and informed on the subject and most importantly, be vocal. We cannot make change quietly; we must be loud, proud, and strong. I believe that the United States can do better at protecting its people, and I truly hope I live long enough to see a day where I can say that that has changed.

 

Never Again.

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Hey everyone! My name is Jessica Ping, I'm a junior here at Notre Dame, and I live in the palace of campus, aka Flaherty Hall! Generally you can find me on Instagram, watching Netflix, or singing with the Liturgical Choir. I would consider myself a professional napper. I'm just your typical college student who is still trying to figure out what the heck is going on.

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