The key to real change? Realization

Understanding our country’s tragedies will lead to reform


Will Anderson, News Editor

  The only thing guaranteed in life is death.

  How it happens, when it happens, even why it happens are all indeterminate – but none of us can evade it under our own power.

  Seventeen human beings were murdered in Parkland, Florida. Never again will they see the ones who  loved them so dearly as they took their last breaths on this earth.

  By the time you read this, the nation will be through its week-long infatuation phase with tragedy and my words will lack some significance.

  I feel hypocritical when I write this, because I really am doing the same as everyone else – I give my two cents and then move on with my life just as it was before.

  Yeah it sounded nice, it was endearing, it sure seemed like I cared, but it doesn’t lead to any real solution.

  And I don’t know there ever will be a solution – there is an inherent evil in this world that doesn’t seem to be leaving anytime soon.

  If you disagree with me, so be it. But when I look at every individual, and then retract my lens to look at humanity as a whole, there are obvious faults. There is no perfection.

  One of the spillovers from that is what our nation experiences too regularly – murder.  

  This is a moral issue to me more than it is political. I react to this and am saddened that our earth would be seething with such an evil that the byproduct would be so heartless and ruthless.   

  It becomes a theological and philosophical question, yet I think we try to bow-wrap the entire situation with “policy change this” and “policy change that!”

  Once we feel our voice has been heard, we often shut up.

  To a certain extent, it becomes the job of our government to protect its people.

  That, however, appears to be too  daunting of a task. And for the time being, until a conclusion of sorts is reached in our system, we are left in an odd state of limbo.

  There was a note left in a bathroom on our campus with threats to shoot up this high school about a week after the horrors in Parkland, Florida.

  A joke perhaps – not much of a knee-slapper, might I add.

  Possibly there was true intent to harm.

  Or even a mental state that the individual reached such that a violent outlash became the only reasonable thing left in his mind to do – I don’t know the details behind his motives.

  I was off campus that day, recovering from an allergic reaction I had earlier in the week, so the only information I received was from our administrative staff at school via an email stating Granite Bay High was in a lockdown.

  It was not a drill, as the school had conducted earlier the same day. And although there was no immediate harm, as communicated by the administrators, my heart still sank to the bottom of my stomach.

  My brother, girlfriend, teammates, close friends and teachers that I shared personal relationships with were all on campus – my entire lifeline, really.

  I sent out texts to the ones I loved, asking and making sure they were all OK. My brother took the longest of them all to respond – thanks a lot, Josh – but the messages from those I had reached out to earlier all replied saying that everything was OK and as under control as the situation could be considering the circumstances. That began to ease my worried mind.

  Still, I said my prayers even though that has become a laughable statement because of our current political climate. Yes I know, if there is an almighty creator, why didn’t that creator just come down and stop the shooter?

  By no means do I try to get political by saying the phrase “thoughts and prayers.”

  But when you do truly believe in a God above, something else dictating and controlling what is going on, those prayers are a whole lot more than a feel-good statement in my own mind – it is a profession of my realization that life too often reminds us we have no definite control of what is happening around us.

  That’s when I was able to get just the slightest glimpse of what the people in Parkland, Sandy Hook, Columbine – a majority of the United States, really – have had to deal with.

  What truly sickens me, though, is the way these tragedies are politicized.

  There are a bunch of people pretending they know every detail, that they know why it happened or even how to create a change to prevent it entirely.

  That’s great, but we all have 20/20 hindsight in America, so let’s get rid of our pride for a second.

  If I had grown up around someone with a severe mental illness that overwhelmingly alters the very person they once were – yes, I would probably feel differently about the political actions that take place.

  And if I had seen the life of someone I truly love taken away by a bullet from a gun – yes, I would most likely have different feelings toward the events that have taken place in our country.

  Reactions to extremely emotional situations are usually molded by the experiences an individual has had, there is no going around that.

  I just don’t want to be a part of anymore conversations that objectify life and death so heartlessly.

  I’m not claiming I know what to change, or how to change it. I just want a sense of awareness and realness in people.

  If there is understanding, there will be change. If there is compromise there will be progress. And if there is a respect for the people around us, the entire environment we hold our egotistical political agendas in will facilitate, at the bare minimum – something.

  Nobody knows everything, but everybody knows and at least has something to offer.

  There is no blueprint that cures the confusion, but we all need just a little bit of something to grab ahold of.  

  And once our flawed approach to gun violence begins to shift, I believe the outlook for our future as a nation might actually start to move in the right direction.