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A Greek Student on School Shootings in the US
by Melina Giannakouli
Many times, I see myself asking why something happens. We always hear the phrase “it happens for a reason” but many times I find myself questioning my own belief in this statement. Whenever something bad happens, from the smallest issue like fighting with your siblings about food, to the most serious like abuse, we always question this statement or ask ourselves why me, why this, why! When I was at the age of 6, I was always told about good and evil and whenever something awful would happen, I would always say “why mom? Why did this have to happen? Why do so many people die, why are people afraid to express their feelings, WHY?” I’ve come to the realization that nobody can feel what you feel, as hard as they may try to put themselves into your shoes. This is due to each individual’s own experience, based on what you have lived through form your own scale of worst and best experiences. For someone else, you worst problem or memory may seem not as serious but that doesn’t mean it is nothing.
Lately, I have been watching the news and keep on being updated on what is happening in the world. About a month ago, in my English lesson we watched an ad about “Sandy Hooks Promise ‘Back to School’”. The video was so vivid. For anyone who has not seen it, it takes place in a school and there are several scenes where kids show what their parents got them for going back to school. However, what is different about this advertisement is the purpose of these items. They showed how these items would be useful in case of a school shooter showing up again. For example, two girls are sitting down and hiding from the school shooter who is depicted as a black figure in another hallway and one of the girl’s leg is wounded. The girl who isn’t wounded shows the audience, the new socks her parents bought her and then proceeded onto showing us, how to tie the socks around the leg of her classmate. The last scene which has affected me the most, was a girl sitting in a bathroom stall, crying, showing us her new phone which her mother bought her, and the “I love you mom” messaged she texted her. Then the stall door opens and the school shooter walks in and that is where the video ends.
While we were watching the video, we all started to cry and get emotional. More than anyone else, my teacher who is American started to tear up and had to excuse herself out of class. I can understand why she felt the need to leave the class and have a few minutes to herself. This is because incidents like that have become almost common place in the US. Here, in Greece where I live, we don’t experience such things and especially not in the extent that other countries do. For example, since 2009 for the past 10 years, there have been 180 school shootings in America. To us this number seemed hude and that is because it is. It is very sickening the fact that for some people this is their daily life, the fear of another school shooter showing up again. In schools in America, we were told by our teachers that they did not only have a drill in case of an earthquake but also lock ins and lock outs.
Hearing this broke my heart and made me realize that ofter times I forget about what’s happening in the world and I stay in my own little bubble where I am safe. It also made me realize that every day is meaningful and that you should make the most out of it. Hearing such news makes me be thankful and grateful. It reminded me to not forget to show affection love to the people I care about. Most importantly, by learning that there are still cases like that happening, I reminded myself to make my days as happy as they can be and try to be the best that I can be and try to give people as much as I possibly can.
I wish that we could deal with all the problems facing this world, but this is impossible because we can’t control everything. I wish from the bottom of my heart that nobody out there had to deal with issues like that but unfortunately they happen. I know that it isn’t up to one person to change this world but we should pay attention to what happens around us and we should never forget to be grateful, hopeful and as happy as we can possibly be.