Columbine High School, April 20, 1999: Students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold shoot 33 students, killing 12 and wounding 21.
Both then commit suicide in the library surrounded by ten of their victims.
Since then, an overwhelming number of school shootings have taken place all across the United States.
People tend to absentmindedly blame these terrible occurrences on gun control — or lack thereof.
But for once, I would like to grind this issue down all the way to the root — because kids don’t just see a gun and think, “Hey! How cool would it be if I took this to school and murdered a bunch of my classmates?”
Teenagers who shoot up their schools don’t want to kill their teachers just because they know they can get to a gun.
If authorities would stop trying to place the blame on a faulty lockbox or lousy parenting skills and take a step back to look over the so-called perfection of their school system, then perhaps we wouldn’t need to argue so much about gun control.
The brutal truth — the honest answer that everyone has so desperately tried to avoid, to excuse themselves from — is that kids have turned to violence because of the school system itself.
We sit at desks, five days in a row, having loads of information shoved down our throats. Our lives are determined by the sound of a bell. Deadlines set our hands shaking, red letters at the top of a page break our hearts and it takes the loudest setting on our iPods to drown out how stupid our brain is telling us we are.
We don’t have time for friends, but we feel the pressure of needing to impress them.
We worry over what to wear to school and whether we should bring an extra shirt in case we get pushed into the water fountain again.
We’re all too familiar with the feeling of our bodies being shoved against lockers, the sound of snide whispers behind our backs or the sight of subtweets getting favorited by people who we thought were our friends.
With all this pressure, combined with hours of mindless homework a night, how could anyone not be depressed?
And violence doesn’t just come through the barrel of a gun. It comes in pinches and razors, matches and rubber bands.
According to a survey conducted last year by the University of Minnesota, 39 percent of high school students are depressed, and 83 percent of high school students self-harm or have self-harmed.
It’s easier to overlook this fact. It’s more comfortable to avoid the scenario entirely.
But it’s happening, and ignoring that fact will not make it untrue — especially when such conditions can lead to acts of violence, such as school shootings.
Nothing is flawless, but the education system is rotten nearly down to its core.
And their answer? Common Core, a system that piles on even more work and a heavier measure of self-worth based on memorization skills.
How are we, as teenagers on our way to college, supposed to be able to choose what we want to do with our lives when we’ve spent the entire time locked between four walls?
This is not preparation for “the real world.”
This is hiding us in a box and convincing us your way is the only way.
Let us out.
Allow us to see the world — and not just the U.S. because the U.S. only does things one way.
Put us in situations that make us uncomfortable.
Show us how people really live their lives — from businessmen, to artists, to charity workers, to acrobats, to vagabonds.
Expose us to the world before we have to decide what ours will be like.
Elementary school, to middle school, to high school, to college, then on to a job that we may or may not even like, is a system authority has fallen in love with.
We go along with it just because everyone before us did, not because it’s good.
Something needs to change because a world where students would rather go to their graves than to their school is not a world anyone should want to be a part of.