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The Blue and White

The Blue and White

Dear Younger Self

Dear younger self, 

 Hello little me. I haven’t spoken to you in a while. I’m sorry about that. So many things have happened since the last time we spoke. We’re graduating in four weeks. We won a writing award. We’re going to have another little sister in the summer. We made it through a pandemic though it did drain us mentally and emotionally. We decided to take a break from studying after high school but don’t worry we’ll return once we’re ready.

 We are also eighteen now! There’s so many things we can do! We can get a job! Get our driver’s license and be on our own. We can rent an apartment. We can pay taxes. We can also own a gun. We’re at the ripe age to enter a firearm store, by a rifle and no one would bat an eye. We’re old enough to take one to a school, a grocery store, a place of worship and just fire. We are old enough to own a weapon and hurt people.

But we still need to wait three more years till we can sip a drop of alcohol.

We were 8 eight years old when the Sandy Hook shooting happened. It was the first thing they announced at our Christmas celebration. How a teenage boy entered an elementary school and shot kids our age. Little kids like us were killed and I still can’t understand why. 

We still think about it late at night.

We were fourteen when the Parkland shooting happened. Just six years later. We were still in the same private school. It was Valentine’s Day. It was supposed to be a day to celebrate love and eat chocolate and hang out with the people we love. Instead people were mourning the loss of a loved one, instead of laughter there were only cries of anguish. Instead of joy there was pain. 

We still think about it late at night.

Now look at us, just out of quarantine, we made it through a global pandemic. Things are getting back to normal. 2022 was the year meant for new beginnings and a fresh start. In one school year, we’ve gotten more than three school shooter threats, two lock outs and at least one lock down. Three times, our mom texted us asking if we were okay because she got a call saying there was a threat at school. Three times mom asked if we wanted to get picked up. Three times we had to message her letting her know that we were okay and that we were safe. 

Just a few days before summer break, 5 more days left! Families are getting ready for vacation trips, summer school. Visiting families, starting a new and bright stage in life. That was the plan.

Yet on May 24th, 2022. An 18 year old kid; a kid our age, walked into an elementary school and into a class filled with young kids. Kids ready to go home. Kids ready for summer vacation.

 Those kids never left that classroom. 

Parents will never see their kids again. Grandparents won’t see their grandchildren again. Vacation plans turn to funeral plans. Instead of being tucked into beds, they’ll be placed in caskets. Their friends will wonder where they went, siblings will ask where they are. Teachers are devastated, wonder what they could’ve done. What they could do. There’s so many questions.

Why did this happen? Who let this happen? Why didn’t anyone do something? Did I tell them “I love you?” Why my kid? Will mine be next? Why does this keep happening? 

Twenty-three years after Columbine,ten years after Sandy Hook, and six years after Parkland. In our eighteen years of living on this earth, we’ve heard and endured listening to more than three school shootings. In this year ALONE there’s been 27 school shootings. In America there’s been more than 200 mass shootings. Way more than any other place on earth. And yet the governor of Texas has the AUDACITY to say it could have been worse. How could it have been worse? Are we waiting for the day it’s more than 100 kids? Are we waiting for it to be a kindergarten? A nursery? A hospital?

We are the oldest of 4, in a few months it will be 5 sisters. The youngest right now are six. Six years, just like the Parkland shooting.  They are not old enough to comprehend the worry I feel whenever they are at school. They don’t understand the pain we feel for them because we worry that they’ll be the next target even though their school is only a block away from our house.

We shouldn’t be worried about that. We shouldn’t be worrying about the day they have to learn safety drills for natural disasters and for an active shooter. An active shooter isn’t a natural disaster. It shouldn’t be a drill! They shouldn’t be practicing what to do if a random person comes in with a gun to hurt them! They’re kids, they shouldn’t be worried about dying! They should be concerned about learning their ABCs and how to multiply or wanting to be a princess or a superhero when they grow up!

Little me I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you will have to endure this. I’m sorry that you still live in a world like this. I’m sorry that as the oldest you will have to go through this and will continue to go through this. But be happy. Be happy that you made it. Be happy that you are still growing and are working to make a change. Be happy that you are trying to be better. Be happy that you still have a family to go to. Be happy that you have teachers that care about you and do what is needed to keep you safe. Be happy that you are alive. Be happy that you survived. Because here in America, that’s the greatest accomplishment you can have in high school. 

With much love, 

Your older self.

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