Yes, you can get involved in the fight against gun violence

Its easy to feel helpless to school violence, but there are steps we can take to fight back.

Graphic by Chloe York

It’s easy to feel helpless to school violence, but there are steps we can take to fight back.

Chloe York, Staff Writer

 “Somewhat uneasy” is how about 50% of LFHS students described how they feel about the safety at school in a TFS online poll this month.

You don’t have to strain yourself much to see why. By now, we are all aware of the three incidents at our school, all occurring within a month-long span: the video, the bullet, and lastly, the vandalized map with a shooting threat. 

Like so many schools, people here are quick to say “stuff like this doesn’t happen here.”  Yet, these incidents make us question that.

On the morning of Oct. 8, I was taking a dreaded practice ACT test, where I had to shut my phone off. When I powered on my phone, it was blown up with notifications, from both my parents, group chats and friends. The school had been evacuated because of a threat. 

The uncertainty of not knowing what was going on made me sick to my stomach, yet, something about this brought upon feelings of familiarity.

It brought me back to the morning of July 4. I was on the way to my friend’s lake house. We planned our day along the way: tubing, water skiing and just having fun. 

I am not shocked, I am scared. I feel helpless. I feel like nothing is in my control. I feel like I don’t have a voice in this fight.”

Everything changed when one of my friends got the text about the shooting at the Highland Park 4th of July Parade.

I felt so distant from my friends and family at home. I felt guilty for not being there with them. Most of all, I felt helpless. 

35 school shootings, just this past year. It’s a record and we still have two months left in 2022.

I wasn’t shocked on Oct 8, I wasn’t shocked on July 4. I wasn’t shocked Monday,  a school shooting in St. Louis.  A 19-year-old with an AR-15-style rifle, over 600 rounds of ammunition and more than a dozen high-capacity magazines. 

I am not shocked, I am scared. I feel helpless. I feel like nothing is in my control. I feel like I don’t have a voice in this fight.

I know that for many of us, hearing about all of this makes us feel “somewhat uneasy,” but most of all, helpless. 

I found myself asking the question: What can I, a high school student from Lake Forest do to help with the fight against gun violence?

If anyone finds themselves asking the very same thing, here are ways you can get involved in the fight right now:

Get Involved in a Non-Profit:  The Sandy Hook Promise is non-profit organization that leads the fight in advocating for gun control and gun reform, which are both crucial to the fight against gun violence. A great way to get involved in this organization is by becoming a Promise Leader.  By joining the promise leader program you can build awareness around the Sandy Hook Promise within our own community. Through the program you have access to promise leader tools, such as the ability to host seminars or google meets. You can also fund raise for the organization, and the website provides toolkits on how to do that. You can also educate others on how to advocate for gun control laws. Building awareness is crucial in the fight against gun-violence. Some other organizations to get involved in are:

Send A Text: Advocating for gun control can be as easy as sending a text.  TEXT UNIVERSAL TO 34131 to call Congress to demand universal background checks. Even the smallest actions make a difference! 

Write a letter: If we are going to win the fight against gun violence, we need everyone’s voice. I know as a high schooler, sometimes it’s easy to feel unheard. Writing a letter to your state representatives is a great way to advocate in the fight against gun violence. Here is a template for a letter telling our Senators to vote yes on the bipartisan safer communities act.

Every action counts.  Getting involved gave me a sense of reassurance that my actions will eventually help us reach the goal of eliminating gun violence.