Making sense of the unthinkable

It’s nearly twenty years since Columbine and here we are again, trying to make sense of another brutal school shooting, this time at Stoneman Douglas High School at Florida. In the last four years, beginning with the killing of 20 first graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, there have been 239 school shootings nationwide. In those episodes, 438 people were shot, 138 of whom were killed.  Violence never makes sense.

School shootings have seemingly established their place in the continuum of violence to which children are exposed.  It’s a dark continuum – sexual violence in the home, exposure to domestic abuse, gangs in the community, bullying and harassment at school – where there is no clear cause or effect, only a downward spiral into shame, fear and retaliation.  In the darkest corner is revenge, a cold-blooded and violent response to perceived slights, where the desire for payback is as inevitable as hunger or thirst.

It is easy to grow numb to the endless reports of mass killing.  School shootings have seemingly established their place, but that certainty is being questioned to an extent that we have not seen before.  In their speeches, the teens at Stoneman Douglas High School have reminded us that we do not have to accept gun violence as the way Americans do school.

Delaney Tarr, a high school senior, explained it thus: “This movement, created by students, led by students, is based on emotion. It is based on passion and it is based on pain. Our biggest flaws—our tendency to be a bit too aggressive, our tendency to lash out, things that you expect from a normal teenager—these are our strengths. The only reason that we’ve gotten so far is that we are not afraid of losing money, we’re not afraid of getting reelected or not getting reelected, we have nothing to lose. The only thing we have to gain at this point is our safety.”

We stand with the students on their demand for safety.  We don’t have the solution, but we hold school safety to be an inalienable right for students everywhere and we stand with them in their demand that Washington delivers a meaningful answer. No Bully will be joining students for the March for Our Lives in San Francisco on Saturday, March 24.

The March for Our Lives – San Francisco – takes place at San Francisco City Hall on Saturday, March 24, 1:00 PM.  Come join us!  We will be posting here where the No Bully team will meet.  To find out where the closest march is to you, visit here.