Op-Ed: To Effectively Fight Gun Violence, Generations Young and Old Must Work Hand in Hand

A few weeks ago, my school had an armed intruder drill. But we didn’t know it was a drill.

The alarm went off, and my classmates and I got up from our desks and went through the motions that have been ingrained in us since Feb. 14, 2018. None of us knew if it was real or not—not even our teacher. Some kids freaked out. We all grabbed our phones, just in case we had to make a few final phone calls. While some of us were scared, most were skeptical. I knew it was fake, but I had no basis for this assumption. I just knew there was no way I was going to die in third-period chemistry.

A few months ago, my French teacher had us move desks. She asked if anyone wanted to sit in the front. One girl raised her hand. She joked, “I want the seat near the door, that way I’ll get shot first if a shooter comes.” People laughed.

For my generation, gun violence isn’t a possibility, it’s an inevitability.

When I die, where will I be? In the hallway? In class? Will I be in the bathroom? Who would I protect? Who would protect me? The intruder drills are a grim reminder each month. There is no guarantee of our safety at school or in this country.

I remember the first time I learned about school shootings. I came downstairs one morning, and the news was on. There was a shooter at an elementary school in Connecticut. I was 9 years old at the time. Barely older than the children being filed out of their classrooms, with dead classmates and teachers. I remember seeing posts on Twitter about a shooting in a nightclub—49 people were dead. It was a hate crime, targeted at a gay bar during Pride Month. I couldn’t process it.

I remember my mother waking me up one October morning. There was another one in Las Vegas—59 people were killed. I remember my best friend texting me on Feb. 14—17 people in Florida. I wasn’t even surprised. Just recently, five more people in Illinois. By the time this is published, undoubtedly, there will be many more.

My generation grew up with a constant cacophony of death, war and trauma. Terrorism, market crashes, Afghanistan, and school shootings. Some saw these horrors first hand. But most of us see them on our phones, an infinite influx of tragic news. My generation is angry. And sad. And scared. But most of all, we’re tired of living in a world where no one is guaranteed safety. Not at nightclubs. Not at concerts. Movies. Churches. Synagogues. Schools. We are never safe. So we must protect each other.

I’ve seen how my generation will come to each other’s defense. We are always ready to call out inequality and mistreatment. We refuse to be silenced, and we refuse to be complicit. Everyone I know has an opinion on politics. In this era, it is impossible to be ignorant and indifferent to current events. Politics exist in our everyday lives, and we are made aware of that fact every time another school falls victim to a shooting.

These issues are deeply personal. Any school could be next, and we have no way of knowing who it will be. Fear has become our new normal.

Fear can give way to three different reactions: fight, flight, or freeze. It is time for all of us to fight. We cannot continue to exist in a country where gun violence causes over 30,000 deaths each year. My generation cannot be forced to handle these problems on its own. This needs to be solved by all of us.

Kimberly Coke is a sophomore at Branham High School. On Thursday, she plans to join thousands of South Bay students plan a walkout to protest gun violence as part of a nationwide movement led by March for Our Lives. On March 30, the youth-led coalition will stage a rally on the Arena Green to amplify their message. For more information click here. Opinion are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].

49 Comments

  1. Well put, Kim, and thank you for speaking up. I have kids that were the exact same age as those in Connecticut. I can’t imagine what those families are going through, so senseless.

    It will take all of us to turn the tide from fear, motivate people to stand up for what’s right and make the changes needed to put an end to such senseless violence. Guns are WMDs (I know, a term that was birthed from this error of terror), we need to realize that, then do what’s needed to control those devices of mass murder.

    • The problem is not gun control. There are plenty of gun laws but that does not stop criminals from obtaining them and further makes a criminal out of law abiding citizens. The issue that everyone ignores, especially those on the left is the one thing that is common in all…yes all…the elephant in the room is mental health problems that need to be addressed. Until that happens mass murder will continue. To not address the root cause is naive at the least.

      • The problem is not the tabaco industry but those who smoke tabaco; the problem is not the drug dealers but those who use drugs; the problem is not the NRA, but those who use guns to kill…right Michael?

          • It will help you indulge in some psychological research on how just having guns affects your mind. It is actually very addictive and harmful for the mind and society. The NRA contributes to politicians and then they have to pay their favor by passing laws that supports NRA business masked by the misinterpretation of constitutional rights. The same for the porn industry which our current president is a Mega fun. There is research on the harmful effects of porn and how it is related to the sexually traficking women and children. These two industries are highly powerful and two demons of our times. Say yes to life and mental and physical health. SAY NO TO THE NRA AND THE PORN INDUSTRY!

        • With all due respect….using a false equivalence does not further your argument but thank you for trying.

          • With all due respect…stating that all crimes involving guns are committed by those with mental illness is a falasy. Show me the statistics…

  2. Thank you for writing this. You are very thoughtful and eloquent with your words. Your observations and experiences are important and need to be heard. I hope this outlook will help be a part of much needed change for our country and future generations. Thank you.

      • The Democrat Party is a children’s movement.

        Children don’t know anything. That’s why civilization commits them to twelve or more years of education.

        Those people who think that children have something deep and profound to say about wise public policy are children themselves.

        • I’d rather listen to the children, the future of the world, than the grumpy old (wo)man sitting around thinking that they missed out on something and thus living the rest of their lives with a chip on their shoulder. Repubs are a shrinking minority, full of a lot of people that won’t be with us soon. That’s especially true here in California. Repubs are gonna blink out any minute now…

          • SCCRezzy:

            What are you most looking forward to in the coming golden age of all Democrat California?

            1. Riding though 23 miles of tunnels though earthquake faults in the Bullet Train?

            2. Social, political, and economic union with Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Bangladesh, Somalia, and China?

            3. Ninety-three percent tax rates on income and property taxes and the collapse of the California State Employees pension system?

  3. Miss Coke, your not a victim of gun violence you a victim of sensationalized News Media violence and a terror program.
    That program is designed to frighten you enough to give up your right to self defense and free speech. This has been a tactic of the left since I was your age since back in 1963.

    If every gun on the planet disappeared tomorrow there would still be bad people out there, in the world that can and will do harm to good people. It is up to every one of us to be prepared. Our “Constitution” and “Bill of Rights,” gave “We the People” those rights knowing full well what eventually happens to a defenseless population.

    Just take a look at history. Today the people of Venezuela, once the richest freest country in South America are being starved and murdered by a ruthless Socialist Dictator, They gave up their rights for free stuff and security,
    they got neither and are now paying a horrible price.

    Don’t make the same mistake, once lost rights will never come back.

    • SCCRazzy.
      6 million dead European Jews can’t disagree with your view, but 6 million live Israeli Jews can prove I’m right !

      • Why sure we can get along, just as long as they do it my way!
        I would never tell SCCRazzy he has to buy a gun.
        Matter of fact I think he should be on that no fly list.

      • Now you are talking Bubble; you have passed the Bandura theory. I am a pro-life and pro-gun control. While I understand I have the right to be pro-life and pro-gun control, I also understand others have a right to be on the other sides. This does not make them my enemies. My goal and agenda is to make both rare. Most women who chose a abortion do so because they were raped, did not have education on birth control methods, no resources to support a child both social and financial. Guns are easily accessible and there is no significant background check, mental, criminal, and so on. For this, focud on factors contributing to too many guns and abortions is a way to decrease guns and abortions without taking others’ rights.

        • Your statement that most women have abortions is absolutely false. Reasons cited in a study outlining the very subject are as follows:

          “The reasons most frequently cited were that having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%); that she could not afford a baby now (73%); and that she did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems (48%). Nearly four in 10 women said they had completed their childbearing, and almost one-third were not ready to have a child. Fewer than 1% said their parents’ or partners’ desire for them to have an abortion was the most important reason.”

          • You should read carefully before responding. I did not say that most women have abortions. I said most women who choose…abortion. This is quite different. Do you see it? I will not read rest of your post; it is based on bad reading and interpretation.

        • FEXXNIST,
          You have to go through a criminal, mental health, a back ground check, and a ten day waiting period for an abortion. That news to me! Then you get to kill someone.

          I can imagine the outcry of the left if everyone that pasted all of that and then got a gun was allowed to go kill a bad guy.

          Guns in this state are not legally easily accessible, especially if your under 21, and the state/taxpayers aren’t going to pay for yours.

          Saying guns are additive or cause mental illness is like saying cars cause drunk diving or bank robberies because they are used in getaways and drive by shooting. So now you may not drive or own a car till you are 21, and can pass that same background check?

          No right to drive, get a license, or own a car, not protected in the Bill of Rights or for an abortion.

          Maybe you should rethink your position.

          • Show me YOUR STATS, then I will believe you! Scholarly literature not NRA studies or paid for.

    • You demand stats from others but you refuse to provide stats to back up your claim. Case in point you stated “Most women who chose a abortion do so because they were raped…” where is your study to back this up. From what I can tell of your writings on this blog your just another left wing troll…possibly controlled by the Russians.

      • I said most women who choose abortion do so because of the social oppressive factors. For example google what guys post about single mothers. Then, families take support away from their daughters for being pregnant when they justify even their sons raping someone, Turner big example. Women may event face insults for being pregnant while males do not face this for fathering a child. There is no enough support for young girls to continue their education or maintain a full time job with benefits. Yes it is gender oppression that forces most women who choose abortion to choose this instead of being mothers. If they receive welfare, they are also judged by that. For this, it is hard to choose to be a mother in a male society and world. You were hurt about me telling you that you have bad reading skills, so you are trying to change subject. IT IS NOT THE SAME TO STATE MOST WOMEN WHO CHOOSE ABORTION THAN MOST WOMEN HAVE ABORTIONS.

        • No … I am asking you to vote your statistics…if you cannot…you are just a troll…I cited my sources

          • The goggle scholar option is there. Be objective in your research and citing. You have bad reading skills, I am optimist you are good at googling subjects.

  4. Really FEXXNIST. You don’t believe 6 million unarmed Jews were murdered by a Socialist Government during WW2?
    Government education has really taken a turn for the worst !

        • The public school system in California has strayed from educating our young to indoctrinate them into socialism. California currently ranks 42 among the states in educating our young according to a study. (See study story below) our students are spending less time in the classroom and the time spent is mostly on social engineering and indoctrination into socialism. They are young, impressionable and are being used and manipulated by those on the left hence this anti-gun op-ed by a teenager.

          Gun control will not solve the issue of mass murder that is a mental health issue that we as a society refuse to deal with. If all the guns are taken away you will see that other instruments will be used as we have seen in the past…use of knives, explosives, fire, aircraft, automobiles and trucks. We have all of these weapons used in recent history but there is no call for a ban on them.

          When it comes to firearm related deaths from all causes (suicide, homicide, justifiable, accidental etc.) It does not even reach into the top ten causes of death in the U.S. according to the CDC. Medical errors account for far more but do you call on a ban of doctors, pharmacies and hospitals? Of course not. Talk of gun control is sexy same as abortion. It serves only to keep the populous divided so we are focused on each other instead of the activities of our government.

          https://www.abc10.com/article/news/local/california/california-ranked-42nd-nationally-in-education/103-387174912

          • Bla..bla…bla…let us blame California and its public school system for Californians being against NRA and being so pro-gun control. KAMALA FOR PRESIDENT; KAMALA FOR THE PEOPLE! We need a California woman in the White House! SAY NO TO GUNS AND NO TO NRA.

  5. > Show me YOUR STATS, then I will believe you! Scholarly literature not NRA studies or paid for.

    Who knows what “Scholarly literature” is anymore.

    Much of the “Scholarly literature” on “:global warming” is deceitful ignorant sophistry.

    “Scholarly” warming quacks constantly emit so-called “if-then” thumb suckers: “IF global warming is true, THEN the sea levels are going to rise thirty-six feet in Palo Alto in the next eighty-one years and we’re all going to die”.

    Oh really? And WHERE IS the EXPERIMENTAL SCIENCE that proves that global warming is true? No hallucinatory :GARBAGE IN GARBAGE OUT “computer models”, thank you.

  6. I did not attend the California School System K-12. What I have learned from my father and the teachings of my lord Yeshua is that those in position to help others should do just that. Money and power must be used to improve humanity and those who are oppressed. I should love and take care of the environment and love and protect animals since they sustain my life. I should not judge people since I myself am at fault too. Instead, I should work at helping them improve their lives and conditions and find their happiness. I should not fear or be intimidated by men kind. I must never place men knowledge over God’s. He created all. If this is the description of a socialist; I AM PROUDLY A SOCIALIST!

      • I said people, regular people, not the members and elements of oppression and RAPE CULTURE! Take Trump and rape culture out of the White House. VOTE KAMALA!

        • Tell me….how did the charges of sexual harassment in Kamala’s office work out? The abuser kept his job and the abused was forced out. Yeah…she’s a shining light.

          • Tell me what is the status of the Stormy scandal and the White House. Sexual harassment, human trafficking, and sexually perverted people particularly males on all parties and systems have to be addressed sooner rather than later. Both parties are at fault. This is why my statement of vote for the least evil.

          • You brought Kamala as a savior to women. You refused to engage in a subject you brought up. But since you asked Stormy had to pay Trump $239,000.

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