Guns, March for Our Lives and the fear of being shot doing everyday things
The U.S. has gotten used to active shooter drills in schools because it can't pass federal gun reform.
As the youth-led March for Our Lives rallies happen across the nation this weekend to advocate for stricter gun laws, I’m reminded that nothing says “Welcome back to America” like the quiet anxiety that comes with knowing you can be shot doing the most mundane things.
In 2019, this fear that rests just beneath the surface of the consciousness of many living in the United States bubbled up to the surface for me. I returned to the U.S. after five years of teaching overseas. Basking in the glow of being back in my beloved New York City, I walked down 23rd Street. Farther down the block, I saw two men arguing. There was cursing. There was pushing. With each step I took, the tension rose and became clearer.
Nothing says “Welcome back to America” like the quiet anxiety that comes with knowing you can be shot doing the most mundane things.
I was witnessing this squabble a year after students and teachers in Parkland, Florida, had been going about their everyday routines at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when they became the latest victims of the country’s problem of easy access to guns.
As a result of that shooting, 17 people died and the March for Our Lives organization was created. The group had just organized rallies around the country, so the reality of what “could happen” in the next few seconds, as I inched closer to the argument I was watching, was not lost on me.