Why Fear Hits


Claire Mahoney

The simple two words inflict fear–a tightened feeling in the neck, like your insides are closing in on you. Today, we live in a world where any given morning newscast could speak of the horror that a community is stricken by due to a school shooting–or another mass shooting of any kind. The community that believes it could never happen to them is a trap in which all Americans could fall.

That’s why fear hits.

Along with all of the emotions that accompany learning of fellow Americans plagued with such a momentous tragedy–such as anguish, disgust and empathy–every student is awakened with a harsh reality each time the news arrives. This is the current world in which we live. You don’t know what the future holds.

While watching an episode of 60 Minutes, Dr. Peter Antevy, Broward County Medical Director, discusses how his 12-year-old son now carries a bleeding kit in his backpack in light of the Sandy Hook Massacre. Imagining a middle schooler needing to equip him or herself with emergency medical supplies for such a tragedy seems unfathomable. The escalation of this crisis only makes more parents feel the need to protect their children yet desensitizes us at the same time. It all seems far away for many, until more news strikes.

There have been motions in recent years which hold countless ideas for how to ameliorate America’s situation. Gun control is the largest of them. The March For Our Lives and the shooting in Parkland, Florida, stunted a national movement where students such as ourselves had the ability to speak their voice to the people who can make change in our country. Aided by celebrities, social media, and the national news, the movement struck a chord with all those who feel gun control is something that must change with the problem of mass shootings.

Others believe focusing on mental health, the elimination of bullying, and the effects of social media on teens could help the issue. Some blame the attention given to the shootings in the media which popularize the issue. School security has been ramped up, just as other public gatherings have tightened their safety precautions. Radical ideas such as teachers carrying guns, equipping all classrooms with two doors, and repealing the Second Amendment have even been argued.

While all Americans may have different opinions on what may help the crisis, it is clear that true movement must begin to be made before countless more tragedies occur with no track for change. These differing opinions–what our country is meant and built to have–have caused a halt in progress in methods to amend the dilemma. Divisive politics have created the issue into what it is today: a politically impacted problem which cannot be fixed because of the climate of the American government. This is heartbreaking as hundreds of people are affected by this emergency, and there has been little movement towards change.

The solution seems to be a mystery, a sickness only evading America, with no true end in sight. While I believe there is no panacea to magically fix this plague, humanity calls us to look upon the issue and make change in any possible way. When the lives of innocent citizens are at stake, the prolonged divisiveness seems shameful. Although bills take time to pass and all of us do not have much direct power, we can all be kind, supportive, and look out for one another– both in person and online. All students should feel safe at school and all Americans should feel comfortable in their daily lives. Whatever side of the debate you’re on, we can all agree on that simple statement.