Enough is Enough

Last week, a powerful thunderstorm hit the GTA and caused mass destruction and loss of life within a matter of minutes. It was surreal. The morning started off bright and sunny, and by the afternoon, mobile phones were ringing with amber alerts of an impending storm, and within minutes of that alert, the skies went gray and opened to a torrential downpour. Winds surpassed 120 km. The power went out almost immediately and suddenly we were in a dark abyss in the middle of the day with no internet.

It was surreal with how drastically and how quickly the day had turned. Within minutes, multiple fatalities from fallen trees and debris had occurred. More than a week later, we are still dealing with its aftermath.

Again, the fragility of life is at our fingertips.

And then a couple days later, we hear of yet another school shooting – this one in Texas. Days before this incident, innocent civilians were senselessly killed at a shopping mart in Buffalo.

I won’t pretend to be completely informed about gun regulations, because I am certainly not, but it just baffles at how seemingly easy it is to gain access to firearms in certain parts of the world. The 18-year-old perpetrator, in this case, was able to legally obtain two firearms and an alarmingly large quantity of ammunition just days before the tragedy. *shivers*

I remember hearing about the Columbine high school shooting in 1999, and, being in high school myself at the time, I found it mind-boggling that something like that could happen at a high school. Sadly, since then, the list of subsequent mass school shootings has only grown at an alarming rate.

If you’re not safe at school, then where are you safe? I came across an article that talks about armed guards at schools and arming teachers with handguns as a way of protecting students and themselves in the wake of an attack.

Why on earth should teachers, who are meant to teach, nurture and educate students, be put in a such a precarious and woefully unfair position? Why should they have to make the life-altering decision in a moment of complete panic and fear, to pull a trigger in an effort to ‘protect’ their students and themselves when it could easily result in even more catastrophic consequences? Imagine an armed teacher opening fire at an assailant and accidentally striking a student in the process?

Bottom line: the answer is NOT more guns. This is purely a reactionary approach that is not getting to the root of the problem.

School is meant to be a safe haven for children, where they go to learn, socialize and grow in a safe and healthy environment. No parent should ever have to worry about the safety and well-being of their children when they drop them off at school or see them off at the bus stop. It’s just absolutely insane.

In Tuesday’s tragedy, many of the victims had attended an awards ceremony just that morning, receiving accolades for their hard work and making the honor roll just before the summer break. Their parents were in attendance, beaming with pride at their children’s accomplishments.

And then, mere hours later, the day took a horrific turn, and lives were shattered.

When I was going to elementary school, the biggest worry I had was whether I had the coolest-looking pencil case or backpack, or in the later years, whether I could participate in the dreaded ‘beep test’ in gym class without being the first one to tap out.

You’re telling me now, that kids can’t go to school without a bullet-proof backpack and ‘training’ on how to quickly find cover underneath your desk in the event of an attack? Really? Are we sending our kids to school or off to war?

Steve Kerr, the head coach for the Golden State Warriors, gave a very raw and honest speech in the wake of this latest shooting during a press conference last week. You could see his visible emotion and anger that struck a chord with anyone that was watching.

“I’m tired of offering condolences to the devastated families…I’m tired of the moments of silences“, Kerr said as his eyes welled up.

Absolutely. This has become a disturbing trend that needs to stop. The endless cycles of ‘something has to be done’ and then ‘nothing is done’ has to change.

This goes beyond much tighter gun control – which is an absolute given.

It all starts from within. What is driving these individuals to make such asinine choices? What is their home life like? Mental health is a critical aspect of our entire well-being and any problems associated with it must be given the priority and attention it needs so that we can get to the root of the issue and act more proactively before it’s too late.


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