Are We Really This Selfish?

It was almost the end of the day when suddenly all doors were locked down, and with no announcement we were trained in active shooting drills. A terrible fear filled me as our doors were locked and we didn’t know what was going on. Was there a shooter in the school? Was today the day that we would have to hide under our desks or flee for our lives? There was no information, but silence for over 45 minutes. There was no shooter, simply dogs that were searching for something but I cannot ever forget the terror I felt then, and this was in 2009. I grew up with school shootings and training as a millennial. I remember Columbine, I remember Virginia Tech while I was in university. 

I had a friend that was shot to death in his own college classroom by a jealous fellow TA, and the day before he had been alive. Violence is not new to this generation. I am 30 years old, and I am tired of screaming.

The Pulse Nightclub shooting came right after I had done an internship at Disney World. I found out the shooter had scouted the park, particularly where I worked, as a possible shooting site. I could have been one of the people shot, and I knew many people who were impacted by that shooting.

I have grieved and known people who have either lost people to gun violence or been fearful that I would live through that terror. This is not new to Gen Z; this has been going on since Columbine. Millennials grew up with the same fear and now I wonder about my kids going through the same thing when I have them eventually.

I wonder when enough is enough. When is Las Vegas or Pulse enough? How many lives does it take to make a change? I have no faith in Democrats or Republicans; it is not just Gen Z that has lost faith in our government, it is millennials as well. I have lived through the trauma of these shootings and despite protests, I can’t understand why people are so adamant on keeping guns nearby.

Violence is on the rise in the Twin Cities, I worry about walking around my own neighborhood since the George Floyd riots that happened less than a mile down the road. I worry if someone is going to shoot me in my own neighborhood or whether the police will do anything as well. But I can’t trust the police who have shot our own citizens.

What kind of future does the U.S. hold right now? I hold onto my Jewish faith and I want to put my best out there, but how can we as a country keep saying we will never forget and yet innocent kids keep dying, racism runs everywhere and I am afraid of the people who are supposed to enforce our own laws.

We have to stand up, we have to change things because it is not working. I have no faith in our government as I have watched as a child and things haven’t changed in over 10 years. I’ve only seen excuse after excuse.

What choices do you give us when we vote when it is the same old broken promises that nothing ever changes? Why vote when neither party actually does anything worthwhile? We’ve screamed in our blood, our tears, and our emotions to the point we’re numb. And we’re close to the breaking point.

I know I am.

I know this system is cracked and neither party can convince me they have my best interests at heart; why else have there been so many school shootings in the 12 years since I graduated in high school? It has been almost two decades of this, including my own childhood and yet nothing has changed. Are we really this selfish?