O P I N I O N
Stand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.
I’ll get straight to the point. There is a pervasive gun problem in America. Every single person in this country is just as vulnerable to gun violence as the next. College campuses, high schools, elementary schools, offices, movie theaters, shopping malls, places of worship, concerts … being afraid to go to a movie is not normal, thinking about all the places you could hide in your school or office from an active shooter is not normal.
I remember the day of Virginia Tech, sitting in my social studies class as the teacher explained to us what was happening. I then remember him asking the class how many of our parents had guns. That was my first memory of understanding what gun violence is. I certainly wasn’t old enough to understand to full magnitude, but it didn’t take long. School days were interrupted with active shooter drills. One week after Sandy Hook there was a threat to my high school. Half of the students didn’t show up for school that day. There were rumors of something happening during an assembly scheduled that day. Many of the upperclassmen skipped the assembly, myself included.
Essentially, half my life has been occupied by the gun control debate. One thing to me is certainly clear. What we are doing now is not working. We need gun control. We need change. We need common sense. As if I don’t think about never seeing my mom again when she leaves in the morning for work, where she’s a librarian at a high school. As if I don’t think about what would happen if I ever got that phone call. As if I don’t think about not having my mom anymore. As if I don’t think about the likelihood of that nightmare becoming a reality, every single day. My mom did not dedicate her career to teaching, education, and the Dewey decimal system to become an armed security guard.
While the idea of some of my past teachers carrying a gun makes me laugh, that’s telling of how moronic that solution is to preventing gun violence. If the NRA wants to arm teachers, are they going to arm pastors, too? Nuns? High school kids cleaning up popcorn for minimum wage at the movie theater? That being said, I will march for my mom. I will march for students and teachers. I will march for those who think gun control is not the answer. No matter who you are, people are more valuable than guns, and that is why I will march.
Katie Dugan and her mom, Helen, are attending the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. on March 24, joining an estimated million marchers, worldwide calling for changes to gun regulations and school safety. Katie is a correspondent for Manchester Ink Link, and attended Central High School before graduating from Suffolk University where she studied journalism. You can reach Katie at firstname.lastname@example.org.