Bethel teen implores you to say #Enough to gun violence

… being young has always been accompanied by a feeling of powerlessness; voicelessness; a ‘you’re too young to understand.’ What more do we have to understand about mass murder? Is there a hidden secret about gun violence? How many more kids will die before adults take our opinions seriously?

Support local school walkouts, rallies this month

By Joely Feder

My name is Joely Feder. I am a high schooler from Bethel, Connecticut. I am part of the growing population of youth who are saying #Enough to gun violence.

Just over a week ago, another senseless act of gun violence occurred in Parkland, Florida.

I learned of the events in school.

Another one, I thought to myself. And they’ll do nothing to stop it.

Being a teen in 2018 is an odd phenomena. Sure, it’s great. We have iPhones, a whole world of information at the touch of a button or touch screen. Students are more educated than ever. We are learning at fast paces with high expectations placed on us, dosed with just a bit of social media and cool TV shows to take the edge off.

Yet, being young has always been accompanied by a feeling of powerlessness, a voicelessness, the view that “you’re too young to understand.”

What more do we have to understand about mass murder? Is there a hidden secret about gun violence? How many more kids will die before adults take our opinions seriously?

Because there is no joy when children die. There is no light when teens are at school and a gunman storms their classroom, and they go through the drills that are now a reality. Hidden, or trying to hide, they stay quiet, don’t move a muscle, hold their breath, and pray they won’t be shot dead. Like so many of my friends, I think too often now, What if I am one of these teens?

There is a growing sense among my peers and I that no one in power in the United States cares about our lives. What we see is a total lack of passion for young people, and total antipathy about whether the future workers and leaders of this country live or die.

How crazy is that? Who will protect us if our elders don’t?

Parkland isn’t the first, or biggest, or most unimaginable school shooting. It’s the most recent, and we need to take action to make sure it’s the last. Because already this year alone, there have been mass shootings in Texas, Washington, Kentucky, and other states, too.

And what steps toward gun reform have been made?

None.

Though I am only 17 and can’t yet vote, I’m doing everything I can to show Congress that my generation will end gun violence. … Not that we just want to, but that we will. We will step up and fight tirelessly in the battle that only some Congressmen and women in America can truthfully say they engage in.

On Wednesday, March 14, many of the nation’s youth will participate in school walkouts to send a message to the government that we want to end gun violence now. At my high school in Bethel, I am working with administrators to lead these kinds of events. We will remember the victims’ names, we will honor them, we will raise awareness about gun violence, and we will fight hard against the lack of laws in place that have allowed too many to die. Then, on March 24th, we will take to the streets and March for Our Lives. One of the events planned in Connecticut is a statewide rally in Hartford. Another is planned by Shelton students.

I get that this sounds idealistic. I get that many people don’t think that marching will do anything. But we need to make noise. We need to be heard.

How many more people will die before laws around gun control are changed? 10? 100? 1000?

Will the next school shooting be in Florida again? In Texas? Nebraska? Maine? Kentucky? Washington? Indiana? Maybe Connecticut will suffer another Sandy Hook. And maybe it will be me who’s shot dead.

I wonder sometimes, Will it be me who gun-enthusiast politicians use as a sob-story to promote their agenda to blame mental illness, terrorism or another abstract idea on murder?

This country needs change, and it needs change NOW.

I encourage you to spread the word about the #Enough National School Walkout on March 14, and to take part in one happening near you. Join the students in your community and show them your support. Then, Tweet it. Snapchat it. Instagram it. Facebook it. Flood your state and federal legislators with messages, letters and emails about the urgent need now in our country for gun reform. Send a message that shows you care about what’s going on. Show the country you care about youth. Show our Connecticut legislators and Congress you will not tolerate more killing.

Support us teens. Works with us to advocate change.

We won’t keep dying. We refuse, and we won’t stop until the gun violence stops.

Joely Feder of Bethel is an intern for Connecticut NOW.

 

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