Composed for the National School Walkout, March 14, 2018 by A.H.Berry

What can I say?
We all know why we’re here today:
because a month ago, teenagers died
and ran for their lives
in a place where no one should ever have to hide
from a gun.
And this shooting was just… another one.

I remember being twelve years old
and seeing Sandy Hook in the papers.
My class made paper snowflakes for the survivors.
I cut mine carefully,
colored it nicely,

hoping that it would make a scared child smile.
I was detached from it.
I thought that once the snowflake got to Connecticut,
I wouldn’t think about it again.
I didn’t worry about it.

Flash forward.

There were shots and dead kids last January
at a high school in Kentucky.
I thought, “Oh God;
I’m in high school.”

The world moved on,
I forced myself to play it cool,
then Parkland.

The classroom in that Snapchat story
looked too familiar,
too much like Poly.
It got worse when I learned
details about who these kids were
and I thought about the lockdown drill we had
at the start of the year.
We did not take it seriously.
I had thought, “This won’t happen to me.”
But when I thought of Stoneman Douglas again
it was painfully clear to see
that when you change the details up,
THEY WERE OUR PEERS.
THEY COULD HAVE BEEN US.

And now I understand how scared
the kids at Sandy Hook must have been.

That’s why I’m here today.
And I wish that I could say
enough to convince The Man
that my generation’s lives
should not be thrown away like this…
I don’t know about you, but I’m scared shitless,
and now there are memes about teachers with guns
like this is a normal thing?

This goddamn country.
This goddamn country; that’s all I can say.
But at least I’m alive today.
I’m gonna love as hard as I can while I’m here
because I don’t know what will happen tomorrow
and I don’t know when the gunsmoke will clear.

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