Seventeen.

    Valentine’s Day 2018 became another statistic in an outpouring of violence.

    Seventeen people shot dead, people who were taking notes and walking the halls of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, people who would retreat, once the final bell rang, to their homes and homework, to their families and friends.

    There is simply no excuse for something like this; the lives that were lost were so bright, innocent and kind; if anything, this surely is a wake-up call for Congress, a sign that this shooting in Parkland, Florida will be the end of gun violence and mass shootings in the United States (although that should have been clear after the previous fifty-four times it has happened in the last ten years, after in increments, roughly five hundred people were brutally murdered.)

    This is something we are sure the country, maybe even the world, will not forget now or ever. Teenagers began this conversation, this protest, this uproar of demand for change. Adults didn’t start this conversation, politicians most certainly didn’t start it; the students of Stoneman Douglas did and the high schoolers around the country followed suit to offer the most care and love they ever have.

    I know that I alone cannot and will never be able to stop all of this country’s violence, from the streets to the barrels of the guns of the police. Please know that will never stop hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of thousands from trying.

    To Aurora, Newtown, Orlando, Parkland, Oklahoma City, San Bernardino, Littleton, Las Vegas, Boston, Santa Fe and back a million times, we do what we do for all victims of gun violence -- as well as for ourselves and our future children, and every generation that will follow.

    I shouldn’t have to go to school wondering if I am next.

    There is no rest in a rebellion, like how there is no hate in a heart full of love.

    This is a time for action, a time for change, a time for people to unite, whether their state swings left or right, whether their blood runs republican red or democrat blue -- because if now isn’t the time to talk about gun control, enlighten me: when is?

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