A Millennial’s Perspective on Gun Violence Since 2000

I was born in the year 2000. My childhood has not been defined by a happy political culture and peace in our world. Instead, all I've grown up knowing is that there is constant violence and hate in our country perpetuated by gun violence. Since I was born, the number of mass shootings in the United States has drastically increased. There have been 188 school shootings since 2000. There have been 1,862 mass shootings since 2012. There have been 307 mass shootings in 2018 alone.

One of the childhood memories that stands out to me the most was finding out about the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. I remember this day more clearly than some of the vacations I went on, holidays spent with my family, or names of teachers I had in school. I had just recently gotten an iPhone with internet access, as all 12-year-olds at the time begged and begged their parents until they received one. I vividly remember coming home from middle school and playing around with the news feature on my phone to figure out how it worked. The first article I stumbled upon was the one announcing the Sandy Hook shooting. 28 people had died. 20 children who were between the ages of six and seven were shot with a rifle in their classrooms. I felt like I had been hit by a wave of sadness and anger that would never go away. I saw images of horrified children crying because their classmates and teachers had just been killed. As a 12-year-old child, I had to imagine kids younger than me having a gun pointed to their head while they were supposed to be safe in school. I wish I could say that with every shooting that occurs I feel the same sadness and pain that I did when I found out about Sandy Hook, but I can’t. My life has never been the same since Dec. 14, 2012.

 Courtesy: Diaspora News

 

There have been at least 1,862 mass shootings since Sandy Hook. It seems that every week, yet another shooting has occurred somewhere in our country. One of these shootings occurred only 20 minutes away from my house this past February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Everyone referred to Douglas as the “sister school” to my own high school, and the massacre impacted the lives of not only everyone at Douglas, but also my own classmates and friends. I was attending a school newspaper event receiving horrifying Snapchat videos of the sound of gunshots, dead bodies on the ground, and friends crying and hiding under desks. Although it was an absolutely awful tragedy that impacted the South Florida community and the entire country, the sadness that overwhelmed my town felt eerily normal. How is it possible that with every shooting that occurs I feel more and more accustomed to the fact that they keep happening?

 Courtesy: Sun Sentinel

 

It sickens me to think that I have grown up in a generation where mass shootings are a weekly or daily occurrence. It sickens me to know that it doesn’t phase people anymore when a shooting occurs. It sickens me to think that my children will have to grow up in a world where they can’t go to school, the movies or a yoga class without constantly worrying that they might be shot and killed. Our generation’s childhood may have been ruined by gun violence, but our generation also has the power to change society for the better. We have all been affected by gun violence in some way, but we can harness that exasperation and resentment towards this violence and put it towards making changes in our society. I am sad, and I am angry, but I am proud to be part of the generation that is going to change the world.