Wednesday, at 10 a.m., I plan to walk out for 17 minutes with my students. Not just because I want to support them, but because I want change myself. As a lesson, I wrote sample letters to representation for my students to emulate - careful to represent three different perspectives.
dear very republican senator,
I understand that what I am about to express may be one cry in a howling wind. I understand that there are many louder, stronger voices screaming the opposite of what I’ll say. Nonetheless, I must insist. This country needs serious, logical gun control, beyond any recent initiative.
I am of the Columbine generation. It was a day past my 10th birthday when Harris and Klebold massacred their high school, achieving the one thing they desired most – relevance. That day, a nation sat up and paid attention. Parents pulled their children from school, drastic lockdown procedures went nationwide, and kids like me suddenly had something to be afraid of each time they went to school. That fear hasn’t dissipated. Rather, it’s grown and catalyzed over the years, climbing towards an unknown, devastating culmination, I think.
The same loopholes in gun sales exploited by these troubled young men remain today. In fact, North Dakota has some of the most lenient rules on ammunition sales, registration, and even storage. If such nightmares can occur in states with stricter policy, our own tragedy seems horrifyingly imminent. And I’m scared. Just as I was at 10 years old. Just as I was in my first year of teaching, when Adam Lanza took the weapons kept in his home to an elementary school. Just as I was this year, when Nicholas Cruz terrorized his former high school with weapons bought legally, despite his clearly unstable mental capacities.
I must ask the obvious: how many lives will it take to see action? Real action. Not minimal restrictions of bump stocks or whatever else can squeak by the gun lobby. Real action. Action that prevents further disasters. Action that makes my students feel safe once more. Real gun reform has to start somewhere. Why can’t this one cry in a storm of statewide opposition be the voice that gets through?
Honestly, I am begging you.