In a number of shooting events happening all over the USA, the last one has probably triggered the biggest reactions. Kendrick Castillo is a young man that you have probably heard about in all the national and international news. He selflessly threw himself at the shooter in order to defeat the gunman and protect his friends.
And sadly, Kendrick, the one person who deserved a happy ending, was the only one who died. This immediately triggered a national outrage — are we supposed to train our children to defend themselves against shooters now?
Are Children Losing Their Innocence Too Early?
Kendrick died tragically, and while everyone else is happy that their children made it out alive, there is a crucial point we’re all missing — someone had to give their life up. Kendrick’s death wasn’t necessary, just like him becoming a hero at such a young age was unnecessary. Yet, it happened, and we still didn’t come any closer to gun control in the country. How many more lives need to disappear in their peak for us to stop turning a blind eye?
Yes, the previous shooting resulted in the death of only one person. But eight other students were wounded, Kendrick is gone from this world, and the rest of the kids are left traumatized. It appears that our society, in general, fails to realize that school shootings have much more far-fetched consequences.
Kelly Murphy is the person who best described what happens before and after a shooting. This woman’s experience with shootings goes much deeper into the past, way before school shootings became a nearly every-day occurrence. She decided to uncover the story of how a member of her family shot three other people. One of them died, and the other two were critically wounded.
After a shooting comes the time period for which Murphy claims is the most important one. That was when she refused sitting there and doing nothing — that is when she realized things must change. She became an active member of Moms Demand Action — a group that fights against gun violence. Kelly realized that the pain she was going through wasn’t only her own, so many other families were going through the same. And according to her, this was what pushed her to do her best to stop this unnecessary grief.
There Are Some Things Children Should Not See or Hear
This life is filled with stressful moments — and everyone will agree that a mature person should face this. The thing is, our children are not adults, nor are they supposed to be. So should a child seriously witness a complete lockdown with the Swat team banging over their heads on the rooftops? Should they even witness anyone holding a gun or a rifle at them at the age of 10? Moreover, most of the people will agree that this experience does not create fertile grounds for growing a healthy personality.
Murphy perfectly managed to describe this in one picture — the moment when she saw her 3rd grader approaching her after the shooting. According to her words, this was both the happiest and the saddest moment of her life. She was happy to see her baby, but she was also sad at the sudden realization that this was the world we now live in. Our world, our country, is officially unsafe for those who we need to protect the most.
If our future leaders and responsible citizens and achievers are traumatized before they even reach maturity, where does this take us? The records say that guns are the second biggest reason for the death of teens and children in the USA. This means that firearms kill more American youngsters annually than cancer. Annually, nearly 3,000 of American children are killed by a gun, and more than 15,000 are shot at or injured. Which means, about 51 children are shot every day in the USA.
And the extent of gun violence reaches much further — it doesn’t stop with those who were shot and are now gone. Gun violence results in millions of traumatized children who witnessed the death of someone at a young age. A lot of kids even know someone who was shot at some point and are now afraid of going to school. Needless to say that we are raising the new population in the most unhealthy environment.
Wear Orange and Blue
We couldn’t stop previous shootings, but perhaps we can stop future ones. We need to fight for our children because this is our obligation as their guardians. We need to ensure a safe future where they don’t fear an unstable murderer causing mayhem in their schools. We need to establish a country where people who are a danger to others and themselves can’t get a gun.
It should be a duty of all adults to join movements that fight against gun violence. Helping this cause can be as simple as wearing an orange or a blue shirt. Orange was the color Hadiya Pendelton’s friends wore after she was murdered. Hadiya was only 15, and her friends chose to wear orange because it was a color hunters wore in the woods to ensure nobody shot them.
Hadiya’s friends’ efforts worked hard to make their cause a national one and to ensure future generations honor Hadiya as a hero and an unnecessary victim. And wearing blue will show support for Kendrick and his family — we should let them know that we hear their pain. And because we understand their pain, we need to make sure no other child suffers like Hadiya and Kendrick.
There are a lot of “Wear Orange” events all over the USA, and I urge you to join any one of those to show your support. It’s time we protect our children.