A Survivor Speaks

Each shooting hits too close to home. Every time there’s a Las Vegas, Parkland, Sandy Hook, I am 16 again. I am walking to the Thurston cafeteria. I am late today. The morning’s fight with my mom delayed me, saving my life.

As I’m walking, students run out of the entrance like a flock of gulls scared off our football field by a menace.

“Run if you want to live, Chalan,” a senior yells. The men are wearing tuxedos. Today is the Men of Excellence breakfast, celebrating the strong, young men of our school.

The juxtaposition of finely dressed students fleeing has me thinking that this is a game. Because, back then, what else could it be?

I relive this: the news vans, helicopters, sirens, searching crowds for friends so I can hug them, feel them alive.

Every time a mass shooting happens, I remember trying to call my mom. Landlines were more normal. Lines are busy. It’s hours before I reach my mom, telling her I’m okay. I didn’t die in school today.

For 20 years I have read it’s a mental health issue, video games, movies, parenting, drugs. Other countries have all of those and don’t have murdered children.

They have strict gun control. They don’t have the NRA buying politicians like Trump, Rubio and Ryan.

To the rhetoric, I say enough. To complacency and conspiracy, enough.

Enough placating other arguments.

I want stricter gun regulation and I want it 20 fucking years ago.

But today will do.

Chalan N. Moon