For students growing up in the 21st century, mass shootings and gun deaths are not a new phenomenon. As early as third grade, I can remember practicing hiding under desks, out of the line of vision from a potential unwanted visitor waiting on the other side of the classroom door. These “lock down drills” became just as routine as the fire drills at our schools. As I reached sixth grade, the Sandy Hook shooting happened and though I recognized the tragicness of this at the time, I still wasn’t yet able to grasp the idea that something could be done; something needed to be done.
Numerous amounts of mass shootings came in the years leading up to 2018, not to mention the countless amounts of gun related deaths due to gang violence, drug activity, and specifically police brutality which sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. Still, the idea of change within our country did not register with me both due to my lack of knowledge on firearms at the time and my privileged perspective. Then, along comes the shooting in Parkland, Florida, which sparked the very movement that I write about right now. For those of us students, teachers, and parents still sleeping, this shooting was a wake up call.
Quickly after the tragedy in Florida, students both nationally and locally were starting a discussion about guns in our country and demanding gun control. After some conversations, research, and a push in the right direction by Somerville High School students organizing their own walkout, I realized that something can be done; something needed to be done.
Jonathan Matskos, Cambridge Rindge and Latin