On my way to school on a Tuesday in March, I passed a deer, lying dead on the side of the road.
This isn’t an unfamiliar sight.
There was a bright red balloon tied to it’s leg that read, “Get Well Soon.”
On Wednesday, I walked out of my third period statistics class to memorialize students, added to a list of statistics.
Gun violence is a loud and unapologetic killer.
I wasn’t allowed to protest.
I couldn’t hold a sign voicing my fear of becoming a statistic in my third period classroom if the next time someone brings a gun to school, I’m on the receiving end of the barrel.
I couldn’t hold a sign advocating for someone in power to step up and shoot for change, instead of hiding behind an outdated amendment.
On Thursday, I was told that my safety was worth less than a phone call from a parent.
That a gay pride flag is just as harmful to one side as a Make America Great Again hat is to the other.
I was told that the “Keep Calm and Reload” shirt worn to the protest against our memorial couldn’t be stopped because it was okay to wear to school.
I was told that we all just have to agree to disagree.
I was thanked for voicing my opinion, but assured that there was just nothing more to be done.
There is so much more to be done.
So today, I’m fighting back.
I will not sit by to wait to become a statistic of gun violence.
I will not be told that my youth invalidates my opinion.
I will not be treated as a pawn in some grown up game of chess, gambling my life away.
I will continue to walk out and out and out until I never have to hear, “Why don’t you try walking up instead?”
Because it’s about goddamn time we stop blaming the victim.
I will not be blamed for the actions of anyone else.
I will not be blamed for the ignorance of the people.
I will not be blamed for the inaction in government.
I will not be a statistic.
But there is a very real possibility that someday soon I may be the deer. A linoleum floor my side of the road. A bleeding bullet hole my bright red, “Get Well Soon,” balloon.
And maybe, maybe then someone will do something.
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