Updated: Jan 22, 2019
Author: Bella Ramirez
SPEECH-Recently I had an active shooter drill at my school, it was in math class but immediately the numbers faded into something much more serious. I took to my phone in these times of worry and decided to write something. Something in case I died. Sitting in that dark math class were twenty six shivering bodies huddled against the wall. Some hunched over their phones, others staring at the door. Just waiting. Yet here I sat pulling out my phone to go through my notes and write up one last reminder if I died. If someone walked into the room and shot me down. Should I be pulling out my phone in math class to write down in my notes “If I die, I love you mom”? Should anyone be crammed against the wall putting their education second because the second amendment takes precedence over my freedom to live safely. This is the norm for American students. Simply waiting in the back of a dark classroom. Waiting for what exactly though? Waiting for the injustice to strike through their class door? Waiting for another gunshot to ring through their ears? Waiting for their very last breath? This isn’t fair. This isn’t right, this isn’t needed, this isn’t meant for children. I may not have a choice as to whether or not I am given the gift of life but at least grant me the right to choose how to live. I choose to not live in fear. I can’t live like this. I can’t live like there will not be tomorrow because I’m too busy hunched over looking at the door in the corner of a dark classroom. Active shooter drills, and crying in the hallways.
We are broken. And I simply cannot live broken like this anymore. Tangled in fear all that is left is a pit in my stomach. I must say no to this way of living. We must say no. We need reform and we need it now!
What do we need?! REFORM!
When do we need it?! NOW!
When I learned about the second amendment in Civics, I learned it as so: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” I never learned it as; let the children be shot in their safe haven. I never learned it as bring a gun to Las Vegas and hurt innocent lives, I never learned it as someone bring a gun into the airport and take away those who deserve a longer life. I never learned it as me sitting in the corner of my math class softly fearing for my life.
DO YOU THINK THIS IS NORMAL?
Sitting in the corner crying into our sleeves checking into Snapchat to see who caught who’s murderer and to make sure we don’t see our friends name on that list of people he’s killed. This is not normal, this is not my normal, this is not the life I chose to live.
How many times must we sit and stare out the window, waiting for our doom?
How can we boast of being from America without being blind?
America! A pride filled beast steering clear of shame. Blood oozing from its mouth, “But at least I have money!” It shouts.
Land of the free or land of the dead?
How many times will we be stuck laying on our head? Bullet holes through our ears and our eyes and our souls as the freedom to live is torn from our hearts.
Mental illness being unaddressed, the leaders running from the press.
Falsities and thieveries, rapists and shooters all standing as one.
But no. Don’t stop them one bit. Don’t stop and check and change and create a new set of instructions to replace our pain!
Because “it’s ok NRA!” yells the lowly beast. They have money and that’s the greatest shield of all.
My condolences! It shouts and chirps, but will it ever see you cry?
How many condolences must we count? How many tears must we shed? How many children must we bury before we get sick of greeting fear like a family member and finally kick it out. Expel it!
If money is so powerful then where is my rent from fear? I haven’t gotten the bill nor the cash, not even a simple thank you but here it is. Harboring inside of me. Crawling and looping and intertwining through my brain and my heart and my soul and I just can’t take it anymore!
I just can’t sit around and wait to dissolve into another piece of indifference with no deliverance and wait to be shot and hurt and misunderstood but oh, at least I’m mourned. I can’t just sit here because what happens when 30 minutes turns into 0 minutes? What happens when never becomes now? What happens when fear can’t save me today?
Oh wait, I almost forgot! Fear can’t save me today! Fear can’t save me any day! Fear can’t save us ever and neither can your little letters of “I’m sorry” or “ooopsie!” So here I shout from the lowest rooftop as the census has 17 less children to tick off in the ranks. 17 less numbers to account for. “Oh no worries! More children will appear !” The monster shouts. “No worries! More tombstones to build!”
So is the tombstone’s economy thriving? Are they hurt any more than I? Without even meeting the children that turned to angels I will allow my voice to go shrill then lost until I finally make a change because I’ve run out of fingers to count condolences. I’ve run out of chairs to hide behind. I’ve run out of places to hide my face and I’ve run out of time to live afraid. I need change. Because not in my town. Not in my state. Not in my country. I’m sorry, but there simply is not enough room here for injustice and me.