Turn tragedy into action

Every student should feel safe coming to school. Last Friday, that sense of security was shaken for everyone in the nation.
At Harvard-Westlake, we are lucky enough to have procedures in place to prevent or subdue any attacks. All students have attended ALICE training where they were told not to hide passively under their desks, but instead to resist an armed intruder. Experienced, armed campus security guards could stop a shooter with lethal force if necessary. A campus wide emergency notification system can send out texts and emails to students, teachers and parents at a moment’s notice.
Perhaps more importantly, we have an effective psychological support system that may prevent these situations before they pose a threat.
Not every school can afford these precautions, and there is no way to implement such safety measures in every part of our lives where gun violence is a concern, something perhaps best exemplified by the recent shooting in the Aurora movie theater.
People say that a time of such grief should not be politicized — that to be respectful we should sit in silence and mourn the tragic lives of those lost. Without progress though, those lives will have been lost in vain.  It is time to move past the political arguments on gun regulation that have turned into years of legislative paralysis and to focus on action in the name of the 27 human lives that were senselessly taken last Friday.
This time discussion must be turned into something more. We must establish that we will not accept mass shootings as part of life in America — that we will not allow ourselves to go through the same cycle of grief after another headline proclaiming “massacre” flashes across the screen.
Of course there is no surefire way of preventing such tragedies, but there are things we can do to try to severely limit them. No matter what your political affiliations are, we should all agree action in some shape or form must be taken.
Be aware of the facts, and know what you stand for. If you are passionate, email your congressman and sign a petition. Knowledge of such horrible realities will inform your decisions when you are a voter or perhaps even a leader.
The worst thing we can do is nothing.

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