How did we become so disconnected to humanity and one another?
Opinion of Hannah Gellar
Scrolling through my Twitter feed on October 1 my heart nearly sank, but I was not surprised when I saw the headline: Deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. History: Las Vegas. I am 17 years old and I have seen this headline not once, not even twice, but four times in my short life. Let that sink in, I was born in 2000 and since then, I have seen four shootings, one after another, each with more and more fatalities, and each being named the deadliest.
I have scrolled through pictures of innocent families fall to the ground crying in grief, but even worse I have witnessed our society becoming more and more numb to the issue as it is beginning to become a normalcy in our world. Although you may be sitting here in East Lyme reading the Saga as a teacher or student, this issue is happening, and it is one that makes you wonder: how did we get here? Of course, the recent shooting in Las Vegas could not have been prevented by any member of our community that day, however it is crucial to evaluate what we can do about the issue here. The Las Vegas shooting may have not targeted any specific sexual orientation or race, however it is evident that this problem is here, and it all starts somewhere. We can’t change what has happened in my 17 years, but we can choose how we respond.
When do we, as a country, say enough is enough? We can tweet, we can pray, we can debate the “how’s” and “why’s” but it starts here. It starts with a smile in the hallway, helping a kid who is struggling and putting yourself in their shoes, rather than watch them fall. Start to be the helping hand picking someone up, and not be the one pushing them down.
Although ELHS strives to emphasize kindness in our platform REACH, it doesn’t just end there. It would simply be naïve of me to sit here and say our school is a positive environment for all. It is time for our community and students to start accepting students for how they are, and not for who other people want them to be. Teachers and administrators can only monitor so much of the activity that goes in school, so it really all comes down who a student wants to be and how they view themselves.
Bullying is wrong-period. However, bullying is not just about the big kid beating on the little one, or the girl in the hallway who says mean comments. It is essential to understand that the only life you live is your own, so why beat down on someone whom you don’t really know anything about? Words hurt, and these shootings just prove that hate and discrimination kills. If we stand up for what we believe in, the bullies will no longer have anything to say.
According to statistics from Columbia University, two-thirds of bullying victims become bullies themselves. It’s a vicious cycle that we have control over. Of course, this is a high school and people are going to say hurtful comments to one another, and maybe not even realize the effect it has. It is necessary to take a minute and think of who you want to be, and how you want others to perceive you.
How long will we report news and express outrage over discrimination between sexual orientation and race until we stop it all together? It all starts with us. It is crucial that we start discussing equality and accept one another at a young age before there are another 49 people killed at a gay nightclub as seen in Orlando.
There is only one way we can truly resolve the widespread violence occurring throughout the world today, and we simply need to reconnect with not only ourselves, but each other.