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South Carolina Honors College

Our Neglected Fears

by Aseel Ibrahim   

It should not be like this. I should not be afraid. I should not be afraid to go to a place where I should feel safe, and accepted, and supported, and loved. I should not fear for my life, in a place where I should be focusing on my education. 

I fear going to the bathroom in case something happens when I am in a place with no doors. Every bang I hear leaves me on edge. Every code yellow leaves me panicked. Every time I walk through the doors, the anxiety stirs back up. 

Every time I see it on the news. Every time I hear about it from other students, or friends, or parents. I see on the news how another school, just like mine, in a town just like mine, with students just like me, who never thought it would happen to them. They never thought anyone would ever be capable of bringing such terror and violence upon innocent kids just trying to learn. 

Kids who left their house this morning worried about a math test or a book report, not thinking about their lives and their classmates’ lives being at stake. Kids who left their parents and families this morning with a “Have a good day!” possibly for the last time. The last time they would see their kid smile, or laugh, or cry, or say “I love you.”

All because the wrong person got access to a dangerous weapon. A military grade weapon. Weapons that soldiers use in war, with a purpose of killing. Why is it that in South Carolina it is easier for an 18-year-old to buy a gun than alcohol? Why is it that in South Carolina it is easier for a person with mental health issues to buy a gun than get a job? Why is it that in South Carolina no one cares to try and make a change when deadly shootings have been happening for as long as I can remember, taking the lives of hundreds of innocent kids? 

Columbine, Sandy Hook, Stoneman Douglas. These should not be schools known in American history for the violence that occurred inside their walls. The lives they took. The scars they left on the survivors. I should not have grown up watching documentaries about these shootings, and hearing speeches and interviews from the students who lived. I should not have had so much anxiety about it growing up that I learned every detail of every shooting that happened at a school in the U.S. 

Where is the change? Where is the action? Why is this issue not at the top of everyone's priority list? Why are children's lives not important? People are so worried about inflation and abortion, but not the lives of children. 

I graduate soon. I graduate soon, and I have spent more than half of my school career filled with anxiety about whether my school would be added to the list. If my school would be plastered on the news and social media as the next victims. If I would have to see my classmates’ bloody dead bodies scattered in the halls as I run for safety. 

No one should have this fear. No student, no teacher, no parent. It should not be normalized. It should not be a thing we talk about when a shooting happens and then move on the week after. 

“Oh, did you hear about the shooting that happened in Texas?” 

 “Yeah, it’s so sad.”  

“Yeah, I know.” 

That is it. That is the extent of the conversation. Why isn't there more urgency to do more? To change? Why have we become so desensitized to these cruel and vicious events? Why can’t we make it so we do not have to have these conversations? So kids are not filled with fear for their own lives? So it is not easy for everyone to have access to a deadly weapon?  

We need to be educated. We need to be informed. We need to have a sense of urgency. We need to fight. We need to speak up. 

South Carolina needs to have more gun restrictions. South Carolina needs to start caring about its innocent children. South Carolina needs to start caring about its students who are just trying to get an education. South Carolina needs to make a change. South Carolina needs to make a change, and it needs to happen now. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.