Dear Society…

Iman Baber

Dear Society,

I had my theater class a couple of days ago. It was super loud, as a group had just presented their scene, and the teacher was trying to calm the class down. But while he was lecturing the class on upcoming assignments, I heard a muffled voice over the PA.

It was already hard to hear announcements in the theater, and the added noise didn’t make it any easier. My friend looked at me and asked if I heard it to. I nodded.

Soon, my anxiety got the best of me. What if if the announcement was an urgent one? What if the school was on lockdown and we knew nothing about it? What if? What if? What if…

Turns out, it was just informing us that WRTV wouldn’t be broadcast that day. I relaxed, but my constant questioning left me uneasy.

Turn off the lights. Silence your phone. Barricade the door. Hide.

We all know this routine. We’ve all participated in drills. We’ve all played out these situations in our heads. We’ve all routed escape plans in our heads in case things don’t go exactly as planned.

My first instinct would be to run into a classroom. If no one was there with me, I would hide in the most inconspicuous place possible, preferably near a fire extinguisher, some heavy books, something I could defend myself with. If I can’t make it to a classroom, I would hide on the field, maybe in a tree, or climb onto the roof, and stay low. If all else fails, then I would jump the fence, and run across the nature reserve to my house, which is just across.

We’ve all laughed about it with our friends, unable to control the giggles when we are cramped together under a desk during a drill. We’ve all created Hollywood-esque attack sequences with our classmates in case the bad guy were to enter our classroom.

But behind that mask of childish immaturity and fantasy, behind the facade of giggles and “It’s probably never gonna happen” is fear. Fear that we may be next. Fear that, maybe our school’s name may be the one in the headlines. With “shooting” tacked on at the end.

Fear that, maybe our school’s name may be the one in the headlines. With “shooting” tacked on at the end.”

The Parkland students are truly brave in what they are doing. After such a devastating and traumatic attack, they refuse to be silenced and courageously advocate for the safety and security that all citizens have a right to.

Unfortunately, you are not really ready to listen to them.

The NRA’s annual rally was held from May 4 to May 6 in Dallas, Texas. Vice President Mike Pence and even President Donald Trump attended to salute the “patriots” who were defending their “Second Amendment Rights”. Guns, knives, pistols, and other weapons were on display for the attendees to marvel at.

However, the organization banned weapons when the Vice President spoke at the convention.

This act drew scalding reactions from many. Parkland student Cameron Kasky tweeted, “The NRA has evolved into such a hilarious parody of itself,” and another student Matt Deitsch stated, “It sounds like the NRA wants to protect people who help them sell guns, not kids.”

Another student Matt Deitsch stated, “It sounds like the NRA wants to protect people who help them sell guns, not kids.””

Okay, I want to get one thing straight.

Politicians WORK FOR US. WE are NOT OBLIGED to PROTECT THEM.

Our focus should be on our children, the next generation who will carry the legacy of our country. This situation is such cruel irony. Instead of getting rid of metal, killing machines from the environments where children grow and learn, you say, “No, they must stay in order to protect and preserve.” But when it comes to wealthy officials, it’s all of a sudden, “GUNS ARE BAD.” What? So I guess that means our lives mean nothing to you? I mean, we have no material power. Might as well stamp a target on our heads. Why would you forsake the lives of children? Children who laugh and play and grow? Their lives, all for the ‘right’ to bear arms?

And to those who think that they need a gun at their sides at all times, I just want to ask.

What are you so afraid of?

Recently, I posted an article directed towards lawmakers. In it, I wrote about how it is their job to listen to us. But while we are quick to blame our elected officials for all of our problems, it is unfair if we don’t claim some of the guilt for ourselves. After all, a government is only a shadow of the country behind it. As citizens, we should be ashamed of ourselves of building a nation where our fellow brothers and sisters only feel safe if they have an AR-15 in their hand. We should feel ashamed of mindlessly hating each other and then looking up to our government like a child asking them to clean up the mess we made. We should be ashamed for not having the willpower to get up and fix things ourselves.

Because lawmakers won’t change. They will also stay in their comfort zones. They will stay content in their positions of power with their own opinions and intentions. If we truly want change to happen, it’s up to us. We can’t expect our politicians to change if we don’t change ourselves. And I understand it’s heartbreaking to see our representatives fall short of their jobs. It’s hard to stray from our comfortable lives as ordinary citizens to become extraordinary activists. But the longer we sit here, the longer the cruel cycle will continue. We can’t be content with fractured laws, half baked rights and a government that doesn’t tackle problems that need to be solved head on. We must be willing to stand and fight if we truly want our country to be the greatest.

Instead of staying in deadlock, refusing to budge, we have to open up to opposing viewpoints. Instead of immaturely hurling curses, taunts, and broiling arguments, be mature, and work through the seemingly complicated problems. Things always become clear once you look at them with an open mind.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love our country. But loving the country and blindly defending all of its flaws are two different things. You don’t love something only if it’s perfect. You love something because of its flaws. You love something because it has struggled and fought battles. You love something because behind all the darkness, behind the ugly things, is beauty. The rights I have as a member of this country is beauty. The harmony that we can find if only we stand back, if only we compromise, is beauty. Will you be willing to compromise to find it? Because if we won’t do it…

Who will?

SCV: a seemingly serene valley nestled among the rolling mountains. We hardly think of ourselves as a politically influential city. But we only discredit ourselves of the great power we actually have when we say that. Now, more than ever, the nation needs willing citizens to act.

Primary elections to elect a member to the U.S. senate are on June 5. General elections will be held on November 6.

The choice is up to you.

The choice is up to you.”