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Thoughts on Sandy Hook, and how it has shaped a generation


The horrific 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Sandy Hook, Connecticut changed me– although it didn’t hit me with its true and terrible weight until much later. I was six years old when the tragedy struck– oblivious to news; I didn’t connect, at the time, that I was the same age as many of those children who died. To me, December 14 was just another day. Like many others my age, I was counting the days till winter break; the faster winter break got here, the closer I was to opening up my Christmas presents. I didn’t understand what adults meant when I overheard them mention a “school shooter.” Now that I’m seventeen, I’m looking back to that time. Those kids would’ve been graduating this year. They were class of 2024–same as many of us at GHS. They would’ve had jobs, and been starting to figure out what they wanted to do with their lives. It makes me appreciate life more– I got to grow into my person but they’ll forever be six and seven years old.
There have been too many school shootings in my years to remember all of them– yet there are a few instances that stand out. Everyone feels that way. Maybe you remember the ones that you could’ve been involved in or had some connection with. Maybe you remember your first– though not the first time you heard of a school shooting but instead the first one whose impact you can grasp. Maybe there’s just one that stands out for no reason at all. The school that stands out to me is Sandy Hook Elementary, because those kids were my age. They were the same age as my friends; they should’ve been walking across the stage, graduating high school, like us.
I didn’t have all these thoughts roaming through my head at six years old. However, my brain is more mature now– I can almost grasp the pain that community felt. School Shootings have come and gone from news cycles been around as long as I remember. Being a normal school kid, I didn’t pay any attention. After all, that’s what most children do– if it doesn’t happen to you directly or around you, then you just go on with your life. But why is that? Why do our brains guard us against feeling someone else’s pain? If it’s not hurting me or someone I love, it’s not so bad.
Generation Z has experienced more school shootings than any other. We have heard about them, or unfortunately experienced them. School shootings have conditioned us in some way. According to, Generation Z has a higher chance of school shootings than any other generation. 21% of students and 74% of parents experience regular stress about a school shooting happening. How do we cope?
I’m sad to admit it but starting in the second trimester of sixth-grade, following the Parkland school shooting and being finally old enough to kind of grasp it, I’ve had an escape plan or a hiding plan for every room in the school and all parts of the property. I imagine I am not alone in this. If there is a shooter you want to make it out alive. You want to get back home. You want to make sure your family and friends don’t have to attend a funeral in your name. It is sad, but it’s the world we live in today. It is the manner in which repeated, unimaginable and unabated tragedy has shaped myself and many others.
Will it change today, tomorrow, or the day after that? No. But hopefully, we can make a change. To start– we need to change the way we do active shooter drills. After all, the shooter will likely have done those drills alongside us and know where to look. It is not lost on me that granted that another shooting will come, like a winter storm, and we need to prepare ourselves. I’m not saying this is the only way! It’s a way to save more lives
In honor of the upcoming June, the month that a gunman’s innocent victims would have walked across the stage in their high school graduation, let us remember them.

Those kids would’ve been graduating this year. They were class of 2024–same as many of us at GHS.


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    Irene G.Mar 14, 2024 at 5:09 pm

    I did not realize that this year would have been graduation year for the Sandy Hook children. That is a opening up a tragic wound for the parents, family, and friends of those beautiful children and teachers. My heart aches for them, and my prayers of comfort are with everyone who had loved ones involved in that disgusting tragedy. I pray that our Country finds a way to stop these hateful shootings. I thought after Sandy Hook, it would wake up and do something. But no, it is only getting worse. Please Government Officials…work together and fix this. Take the lobbyists money out of your pockets and take care of our children and society. Stop mass shootings.