A Climate of Fear and Hope: School Shootings by Kyra Krall

Kyra Krall participated in the March For Our Lives in Chicago, Illinois on March 24, 2018.

I was in fifth grade when the Sandy Hook school shooting occurred. I remember getting on the bus and hearing other students talk about a shooting at a school in Connecticut and that a lot of little kids had died. I wasn’t sure if this was true or not, but once I got home I looked up the shooting and discovered that the kids on the bus were telling the truth.

That night I couldn’t sleep. I remember waking my parents up after crying in our bathroom. I didn’t understand how this could happen. How these kids did absolutely nothing wrong they just went to school and someone went there, disrupted their place of safety and took away their future. I was terrified it would happen to me or to others. I thought about my sister who was a third grader at the time and I was afraid for her too. Fifth grade was the year I began to realize that life is fragile and that the world is a scary place and part of that was due to that school shooting. When I heard about the Aurora movie theater shooting, I was gripped by fear again.

For the past six years, I have heard about mass shooting after mass shooting and I have been at a loss for what to do. I am tired of living in fear of going to school, or to the movies, or anywhere. I am tired of worrying about my sister and other children all over the country who risk their lives going to school every day. When the Parkland shooting happened and this incredible group of teenagers began to fight against gun violence, I was excited to see what they had planned. I wanted to contribute to the movement too. I posted a poem I wrote about school shootings on Facebook and participated in the nationwide walkout, but the most meaningful part of the movement I participated in was the March for Our Lives.

I organized a trip to Chicago for a group of my friends and it was an incredible experience. We were surrounded by other students, teachers, parents, and others who were passionate about stopping gun violence. There were signs that were powerful and heart-wrenching and the speakers we heard were astounding. There was poetry, music, and stories that were told by students from organizations around Chicago. A big takeaway from this march was that gun violence is not a new conversation. Gun violence happens in Chicago every day. Students in Chicago and in cities all over the country face obstacles to their education due to gun violence every day. It is not a new conversation but it is time for us to change the outcome of that conversation. The energy and size of the march and the marchers give me hope for change and for the conversation to create a new outcome. We as students believe the country is ready for change and capable of change and we will do whatever it takes to make our voices heard. Being at the march surrounded by others who are passionate and hearing inspiring speakers was an experience I will not soon forget. It showed me the strength of this generation and others who are ready and willing to make a change. Through walkouts, marches, and votes we will change the culture of gun violence in this country.

Kyra Krall is a first-year nursing major at Goshen College. She hopes to eventually earn a masters degree and become a nurse practitioner and work either in the ER or as a flight nurse. Kyra is from Carmel, IN but has found a home at Goshen College. She is passionate about change through action and standing up for what she believes.

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