By Sammi Dorfan (’18)
It’s difficult to say that a new wave of gun violence has erupted in the States, because it’s no longer clear when the first wave ended and the second began. For America, it’s been a vicious cycle of one mass shooting after the next. While thankfully SDJA students have never been close enough to hear shots firsthand, the events that occurred
in Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, and everywhere in between, hit surprisingly close to home.
Interestingly, despite the fact that shootings have become regular occurrences in America, most SDJA students are more sympathetic towards those who’ve experienced such terror than they are afraid of experiencing it themselves. Gianni Mizrahi (‘19) says, “If any violent act were to occur, I trust that our police forces will respond accordingly.”
Other students attribute their lack of fear not the the efficiency of the police but rather to their own dispositions. Gali Laska (‘20) shares, “I don’t live life in fear. I don’t live life assuming that when I go somewhere someone is going to shoot away.” What Laska feels is not fear, but rather distress when she considers the possibility of something so horrible commingling with something that brings her joy. “I love music and I love concerts and the fact that someone would want to kill people at a thing that I love so much is heartbreaking.” She says that shootings become “an even scarier reality” when used in the same sentence as one of her passions.
Sometimes it’s easier to deny the possibility of something than it is to accept fear. Veronica Warner (‘19) admits, “It hasn’t affected me directly ever so I’ve always had this thought that it never will.” What most students, including Warner, didn’t know is that they aren’t as far removed from the chaos as they thought.
A few months ago, a person was shot one evening at Belmont Park. Although this occurred on a far smaller scale than any of the previously mentioned shootings, to some students the proximity of the attack was far more fear-provoking. For Kayla Shwartzberg (‘19), even the Las Vegas shooting was too close for comfort. Warner responded differently: “I feel like the idea of gun violence scares me, not how close it is.” For her, the cause for concern is the myriad of people who end up dead or injured; the location is just a technicality.
When asked to guess how many shootings occured in the United States in 2017, students responded with numbers such as 30, 54, and 112. After learning that the true number is a whopping 307, students responded with gasps, grunts, and expressions of dumbfoundedness. However, this does not illustrate an ignorance in the student body, but rather some fault in the American system. Students say that they do their best to educate themselves and keep up-to-date with what’s going on. But Warner (‘19) speaks for most when she says, “We don’t do anything more about it because we don’t know what else to do.”