A conversation about gun violence in the United States is one we have needed to have for a long time. As we reel from our 18th school shooting this year, according to gun safety nonprofit Everytown, we must ask ourselves what we are willing to change to save ourselves. The survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., have visited the White House to talk to President Donald Trump about their ordeal and what they feel should be done. Beyond passing the blame, and trying to understand what created the ticking time bomb that was Nikolas Cruz, we should take a moment to reflect on the lives lost, and those irrevocably changed.
Savannah State itself is no stranger to a school shooting, and although nothing on a massive scale has happened, the blood shed on this campus still weighs as heavily. Christopher “Cooley” Starks’ death is one that is still discussed in hushed voices on the campus a year and a half later. This past weekend, SSU was once again struck by gun-related tragedy, and although the victim, Kaleel Shakur Clarke, was not a student, the grief is just as dense.
While the country debates on how to stop gun violence in schools, and gun control, we should not forget to keep our minds on those lost, especially most recently. While we are people in our own right, the relationships and bonds we form with others are some of the most important ways we are remembered, and what we leave behind. The brothers, sisters, husbands, fathers and children lost recently do not go unnoticed. Beyond a political agenda, we have a moral responsibility to them. Their lives mattered, and as the governing officials decide what is most important, and what steps to take next, let us remember that.
While the country grieves, do not let the issue of gun violence get swept under the rug. Do not let a feeling of hopelessness linger, and do not feel voiceless. Please begin looking for ways you can enact change from where you are, take some time to take care of yourself and take solace in the fact that you are not alone.