I Grew Up With Mass Shootings

Reede Nasser

Here in America, we’re really good at taking action after something bad happens. Acid Rain? Clean Air Act. Lake catches on fire? Clean Water Act. We plaster warning labels to make sure we don’t consume anything poisonous.

How many of our brothers, sisters, friends, and parents do we need to lose in mass shootings to get a Gun Regulation Act?

I turned six years old the day of the Virginia Tech shooting on April 16 2007. That night, my parents had to explain to me what the words “mass” and “shooting” meant together. Since then, they have been the most prevalent word duo in my life. Eight more shootings occurred right before the Aurora, Colorado shooting. The premiere of Dark Knight Rises, a little boy begged his parents to let him go and see Batman, turns out Bane wasn’t the only bad guy there.

Then Newtown Elementary School. I was eleven. The majority of the victims hadn’t even reached double digits; they will never go to high school, learn how to drive a car, fall in love, take the ACT, get a job or graduate. Their entire lives were taken away from them in the single pull of a trigger. Although I was too young to understand the politics of it, I could hear the words “gun” and “control” finding their way into the same sentence more often than ever before in my life. This should’ve been the last time something on this level has occurred; children, only a handful of years younger than us and in a town so similar to Park City, being killed.

Then San Bernardino, California. I was fourteen. The shooting occurred only two hours away from my childhood neighborhood in San Diego. We were just starting to set the Christmas lights up and the local nursery was just bringing out the fresh holiday trees. Fourteen were killed, 21 were injured, and their families spent the holidays making memorials instead of memories.

Then Orlando. I was fifteen. I was giving a speech to my class at eighth grade promotion that day. The speech was about growth, how eventually this will be a real graduation. Little did we know that only a few hours later on the other side of the country, the largest modern day mass shooting in the US would occur (at least for that year) in a club filled with pride.

Then Vegas. I was sixteen. My sister was invited to the concert, she would’ve been front row with her childhood best friend, how close I was to losing her, how 550 families were affected by this and yet this wasn’t the one to end it all, to finally get some political action.

Then Parkland. I’m still sixteen. Happens in a town, just like Park City. With kids around my age. The juniors in AP Language and Composition, happen to study the rhetoric and political controversy surrounding Gun Control. The day before my class was watching Presidential speeches about the topic, we had many discussions about the topic, the tone of those discussions changed after Parkland, they became more personable. It seems in almost every class, there was a discussion about the shooting. Though, each carried their own points, after every single one the room would fall quiet, each student taking it all in. Asking themselves, the million dollar question.

Could it be us next?