Noshin Begum

Mon Oct 19 2020 04:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

44123NBe

“December 14, 2012. It was a cold and unassuming winter day. I walked around the school halls without much thought. By second period there was faint whispering among the students. In third period, the teachers spoke. "There's been shooting.”

Everyone around me rushed to their phones and laptops to look up the news, but I felt stuck in place. Frozen. Later at home, I walked into the living room where I could hear a newscaster's voice. I sat in front of that TV for hours, days, weeks. Weeks turned into months. Months turned into years of me staring at the newsfeed on my phone.

I wasn't one of those kids. I wasn't one of their loved ones. Yet, they were always on my mind. For the next seven years in class, my friends and I would have the same conversation periodically. What would we do if it was us? How would we escape? Would we make it?

I'd be lying if I said we weren't scared. We had imagined the end too many times to count. For a few years, it seemed as if there was a new shooting every month, every week. It was as if the country wouldn't let us stop imagining it.

I think about Sandy Hook a lot. The moment those in power decided guns mattered more than innocent kids, kids with a complexion much lighter than mine, lives much younger than mine, it was over. Why would they even care about the rest of us? And it wasn't just guns. We all knew that it was money from lobbyists, power, and greed. We all knew that as long as these politicians could get elected again, spouting any lie or narrative, they wouldn’t change anything.

All those years ago, 12-year-old me had become conscious of the hard truth. This country never cared. We grew up being spoon-fed lies of an American dream. A dream that was never meant to be fully realized. Dreams stop when life ends.”