I won’t forget

I won’t forget. This will not leave my mind. My heart is with you, Florida.

In media class today, my professor asked, “What do you think the most powerful medium is? Video or text?”

I’m a multimedia journalism major. But writing for print has always been where my heart is. Words on paper are usually all I need to feel moved. Had my professor asked me the same question a month ago, my answer would have been “text.”

But last night, on Valentine’s Day, I was scrolling through Twitter. I had heard about the Florida school shooting earlier that day, but I decided not to check social media because I needed to get my work done before I processed it.

Normally, when there’s a school shooting (yes, “normally”), the Twitter community gives its condolences, preaches its opinion on gun control, and moves on to another topic.

This time, it was different. The kids caught in the horror had snapchatted videos of their experience. Those videos were then screen recorded by peers. Then, they were tweeted. I barely made it halfway down my timeline before I saw the first one.

It’s easy to give condolences when you read a headline. It’s easy to send thoughts and prayers.

But as I watched snapchat videos of kids screaming as their classmates bled out, of gunfire raining into classrooms and breaking windows, of 15-year-olds stepping over their friends’ corpses, of sobbing teenagers being evacuated by SWAT teams, of a grief-stricken mother begging Trump for change, I broke down. I sobbed. And I became 10 times more angry than I’ve ever been at this country’s lack of action.

So when my professor asked me today what the most powerful medium was, I said “video.”

Although I’m disturbed from viewing the snapchats from inside the school, I know in my heart they needed to be posted. People need to see the horror instead of reading the headlines. And these kids who recorded their worst nightmare caused a ripple — a new conversation started.

I’ve written another post about gun facts and my view on gun control. The only thing I will repeat from it is this:

We have to try SOMETHING to reform the system. No more children shot dead in their school. No more fear of public spaces. No more. This is not a partisan issue anymore. This si common sense. This is safety.

There will have to be great compromise on this issue. But for God’s sake, don’t let these children die in vain. Try something. How many more have to mourn their friends, sons and daughters before Congress acts? How many more generations have to live in fear of public spaces? Where is the line? When someone shoots up Capitol Hill? What will it take to finally say no to NRA lobbyists and politicians backed by the NRA?

I often hear the argument “hard drugs are illegal, but people still get them” to “refute” gun control advocacy. Okay. Great. But hard drugs, like assault rifles, are deadly. So we acted on principle and outlawed them. And no one is arguing outlawing all guns. We are arguing for more control.

Gun control, to me, is like vaccinating. Not everyone will die of Measles, but Measles is fatal. So we came up with a solution to eradicate it. Not everyone will die of gun violence. But now, when the 200th group of American kids bleed out on their classroom floor, seems like the time to act on principle. Even as a sort of resolution. Why are we not at least TRYING SOMETHING? Passing little reforms? Drafting new legislation?

My heart breaks for Florida. Even though news is fast paced, this shooting will stick with me for a very long time. And it solidified my view: we cannot call America the greatest country on earth until our children stop dying. We need reform. For these kids. And for our own good name.

I think this person said it best:

I won’t forget. Not until we act like we care about our children.

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