Student Voices | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Student Voices

Local youth weigh in on gun violence, in schools and in the wider community

Student Voices

Just this week, two incidents involving firearms happened right here in Bend. One incident left two men dead. While neither involved local schools, they serve as reminders that firearms pose a constant threat of violence when left in the wrong hands.

In light of the multitude of attacks at schools nationwide, students and teachers live with the ongoing question: Will my school be next?

This week, the Source invited local high school students to share their thoughts about gun violence.

In honor of the many who have already lost their lives in attacks on schools, we proudly present this Student Voices project.

— Nicole Vulcan, Editor

An invitation to Student Voices: A panel on gun safety in schools

by Vinna Ottaviano
Bend High School student and Student Voices panel participant

The March for Our Lives event that happened on March 24 was by all accounts a success, but even while I was recruiting speakers and organizing sponsors for the march, I kept wondering how we could keep the momentum going. It's easy to show up to marches and be swept along with the powerful and giddy energy that surrounds everyone like a blanket. The problems occur when the people who show up to protests fail to show up to the polls. In my opinion, voting tends to be more effective than organizing in a park. It's easy for politicians to ignore a protest; it's much more difficult to disregard the votes of the people they are representing. With midterms coming up in November, it's important to be educated on the views of candidates and then go out and make your voice heard. If you want to see positive action toward gun safety, you have to be the one to go get it.

Death by Numbers

by Isa Merel
Student at Bend Senior High School

Student Voices
One year until my life changes,

For better or worse I do not know.

One year until responsibility,

I'm still unsure if I'm ready to go.

Two years old and already talking,

My parents must have been so proud.

Two years old and I don't remember anything

Those memories must not speak so loud.

Three years ago, I started high school,

A mostly decent, but sometimes scary place.

Three years of endless school-induced stress,

Led by people that seem to be in an arms race.

Four years of my life will be spent in here,

Nineteen-hundred students shoving past me every day.

Four of them will become my closest friends,

To the rest I may just seem like helpless prey.

Five fingers on each of my calloused hands,

Three of which I use to write poems and plays.

Five years old and hearing my mother's voice read:

"I'll love you forever, I'll love you for always."

Six is my little brother's favorite number,

He teaches me about it as if I understand.

Six is how many years older I am than he,

I hope I'm always there to hold his hand.

Seven days a week, I think about school,

About homework, about drama, about classmates.

Seven days go by painfully,

Wondering what kind of gun will decide our fates.

Eight, the age I began the third grade.

My favorite year of school, by every account.

Eight friends made me the happiest I've ever been,

Fear, of any magnitude, could never put it out.

Nine years of my life I've spent playing soccer,

Some of my fondest memories made by this sport.

Nine of my closest friends could be in the room with me

When each of our barely-lived lives are cut short.

Ten years it took me to learn how to manage

My curly, unruly, blonde, frizzy hair.

Ten deaths per 100,000 U.S. citizens could be saved,

But not by "thoughts and prayers."

Eleven weeks until I take another test

One that will decide my future forever.

Eleven points of difference can tell me

If I'm truly intelligent, or just kinda clever.

Twelve years old and watching the Sandy Hook news,

Terrified out of my mind of the horror I saw on TV.

Twelve days before Christmas,

Unwrapped presents those children would never get to see.

Thirteen, my first year as a teenager,

I thought I had my whole life planned out...

Thirteen colonies fighting for independence needed guns,

But a now-developed nation should at least show some doubt.

Fourteen, the age I started a new chapter of my life,

A new country, a new language, a new school.

Fourteen days; two weeks later and I still don't know

What could compel someone to be so cruel.

Fifteen seconds go by, 150 bullets are fired.

A race so advanced in technology, yet we can't see the issue.

AR-15 it is called, the murder weapon behind problems

That won't be solved by another box of tissues.

Sixteen, last year, when I was given another treat.

The ability to drive my own car, my own boat.

Sixteen years on this earth and I'm given the right

To put people's lives in danger, yet I can't even vote.

Seventeen lives were lost a day meant to celebrate love.

Lost, to heaven, to God, at the barrel of a gun.

Seventeen lives were taken from their parents,

All of them my age— shot— bullet after bullet, one by one .

Gun Violence

by Matthew Wakeman
Student at Summit High School

The United States has a tumultuous and torrid history with firearms and the Second Amendment that protects them. Half of all firearms in the world are owned by 4.5 percent of the global population, Americans, and this has seen a terrifying gap in gun violence compared to other developed nations.

Americans love guns. The BBC reported that the U.S. has more than 270 million firearms; that’s nine guns per every 10 Americans.

It is a uniquely American trait, who has more than twice as many guns per person as the next most gun-owning country Yemen, and three times as many as Canada. Yet Canada sees only a sixth of firearm homicides that the U.S. does, reporting 5.1 deaths per one million people compared to the U.S.' staggering 29.7, as reported by Javier Zarracina for Vox.

Though mass shootings are usually what comes to mind when speaking of gun violence in America, they only make up a small percentage of gun deaths.
The CDC reported that only 14 people were killed in 2014 due to mass shootings with greater than three fatalities. Yet, the CDC also reports that year 33,594 people died due to firearms.

The true issue of gun violence isn’t mass shootings. The CDC in 2014 found suicides accounted for more than 21,000 deaths, nearly double firearm homicides, and worst, suicide rates continue to grow.

In the last decade gun suicides have been on the rise. The CDC found that suicides have increased from 16,000 in 2006 to nearly 23,000 in 2016, and account for an increasing percentage of gun deaths as homicide rates continue to drop.

Matthew Miller, M.D., Sc.D., and David Hemenway, Ph.D. reported for the New England Journal of Medicine that between 2001 and 2005 the states in the U.S. with the highest rates of gun ownership saw nearly four times as many gun suicides compared to states with the lowest gun ownership rates. But these states had nearly identical rates of non firearm suicides.

Furthermore, the American Journal of Public Health found in a 2016 study that gun owners were more likely to commit suicide for men and women alike.
Over 60 percent of all gun violence is due to suicides. States with more guns see higher rates of suicides, and gun owners are more likely to commit suicide. Nations, like Australia, which have policies that limit gun ownership have seen massive decreases in gun related suicides.

America loves guns, but a life is a life, and when people are dying there must be a change made to fix it. America is vehemently protective of her right to bear arms, and should be, it is a right, but one that comes with an asterisk.
States like California, New York and Illinois who have policies to limit gun ownership see far lower rates of gun violence when compared to states without these policies, as Zara Matheson reported for the Martin Prosperity Institute.
Quinnipiac University in 2018 found 97 percent of Americans support universal background checks. And 89 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats agree that the mentally ill should not be able to own a firearm, a survey by Pew Research Center in 2017 found.

There are reforms that make sense, are effective, are popular with both parties and still guarantee the right to bear arms, but more importantly they will help to stop these unnecessary deaths that are so uniquely American.

Untitled Poem
By Leah Chapman
Student at Sisters High School

Close casket



Inside walls of funeral homes

Where the tally never gets seen

For mutilation encases the nation

And the very ground it's built on.

The reaper uses a revolving door

The flow never stopping

And it comes to the lives of the youth

Their own numbers ever dropping.

Safe space becomes the common place

For ricochet and fire.

Clear bags and checkpoints stand like sore thumbs pointing back.

A hitchhiker in dystopia

Always looking back.

To before terror was amok

And prior the fall in Columbine.

When "America was Great"

But death be not proud

Shots Fired

By Quinlan Crowe

Student at Sisters High School

Shot down by our own

Shot down by the young and the old

Shot down by the sad, mad, and confused

Shot down by those who don't know how to, or want to express anger, frustration or sadness

in another way

Shot down by the lost

Countless days spent mourning

Countless days "We will always remember"

Countless lives lost

Countless sacrifices made

Countless lives changed forever

Countless days spent wondering "What if?", "When?", and "How?"

Will we really remember all the lives lost?

Will we really remember all the dates to mourn?

Will we really remember all the places of tragedy?

Will we really remember all that has gone down?

Will we really change?

America's Gun Violence Problem Needs a Measured Approach

By William Anderson
Student at Redmond Proficiency Academy

In the wake of tragedies like the Parkland and Las Vegas shootings, the cacophony defining the gun violence debate rages on.

With former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens calling for young activists to repeal the Second Amendment and the National Rifle Association advocating arming teachers, the fissures in what would seem like universal issue grow. Reaching any lasting resolution will require a brand of bipartisanism few practice.

Student Voices

Organizations like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America stand out amid the partisan squabbles for their much-needed moderation. The organization does not aim to enact the sweeping change that each side finds so alarming. Instead, Moms Demand Action works to transcend party lines in the fight for gun reform.  

"Our members are Democrats and Republicans and pro-Second Amendment rights but [the issue] has become partisan," said Ruth Herbert, the legislative co-lead of Moms Demand Action. "I don't think it needs to be."

The organization finds a middle ground by invoking a lost art: accounting for public opinion and suggesting changes that are well within its scope. Take, for example, comprehensive background checks.

"Over 90 percent of Americans believe in comprehensive background checks," said Zandra Brant, the other legislative co-lead of the organization. "That would include not just buying a gun from an authorized gun seller but through online or at gun shows. The United States doesn't have it, but many states do. We passed it 3 years ago in Oregon."

In a survey of 35 students, most respondents confirmed Moms Demand Action's measured approach. 57 percent said they would support more regulations on firearms, though the more extreme measures were unfavorable, 55 percent would not support a repeal of the Second Amendment and 61 percent did not support the work the NRA was doing.

In the United States, the prevalence of gun culture proves a unique barrier to resolving the problem. Around 400 million guns are in circulation, according to the Small Arms Survey, a project of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, and stigma surrounding governmental regulation of arms predates the Revolutionary War. For advocates of gun rights like Josiah Underwood, an employee at Radian Weapons in Redmond, Ore., action by the federal government simply isn't appealing.

"I don't know that you legislate your way out of violence," said Underwood. "Of course, you could probably ban the use of firearms exclusively and that would probably reduce gun violence-related deaths but then you would be depriving hundreds of people of their rights to protect themselves."

Moms Demand Action is not looking for the repeal of the Second Amendment, they advocate for smaller changes. One of the misconceptions they consider hindering to their advocacy is the belief that reformists want a universal ban on guns.

"There's a lot of fear around people trying to confiscate everybody's guns which is not what we advocate for at all and that legal gun ownership is not going to go away in this country," said Herbert. "We just want people to be safe with them to protect children and to protect our families from violence."

Their marked approach includes not just pushing policies that are well received but looking for candidates that are sympathetic to the plight of gun owners as well as advocated for change. Locally, they support Jamie McLeod-Skinner for Oregon's Second Congressional District.

"I know that McLeod-Skinner is very much in favor of gun violence prevention even if she is a rural Democrat," said Brant. "Nevertheless, her experience living in rural Oregon has made her understand the need some feel for possessing guns, like those in areas where the closest sheriff's office might be half an hour away."

The advocacy that Moms Demand Action should serve as an example of the change needed in America. Through measured progress, they seek out a functional solution people can agree on.

Untitled Essay

By Isaac Cruz
Student at Bend Senior High School

I'm only a teenager, so I'm definitely not someone who claims to have all the answers and anyone who does is simply lying. However, I am someone who has common sense, the type of common sense that comes from being afraid to come to school, that comes from hearing about kids in your school being apprehended for planning a shooting. The common sense I have is that more guns in a school and in the hands of dangerous people is simply an insane solution.

Last year I researched, and asked teachers if they even wanted to carry a firearm in school or that more would help. The general consensus was that having more guns to counteract gun violence does not make sense, and that our school systems, and our government need to invest more in mental health initiatives rather than "hardened" schools and communities.

I'm not an adult and don't have the same views as one on this subject so I can only speak from the standpoint of a teen. And when most of us hear gun control we think one of two things: "I don't wanna be shot while trying to learn algebra!" or "You can't take my guns!" There is a way to have common ground on this subject; the simple fact is whether you're protecting yourself or hunting, you don't need a gun that could clear a room in five seconds.

This country needs meaningful, and common sense reform to our current gun laws. Laws that help a teenager like myself feel safe, and laws that still preserve the right to bear arms. I do believe you should be able to bear arms, just not weapons powerful enough for military use. People want to believe that this is taking away their rights that any minor altering of the Second Amendment is un-American. What is un-American is seeing children die in the halls of a school, watching their mothers weep on television, and still not being open to changing it.

I'm generally not a fearful person, and a year ago getting shot next to a white board was a scenario that never played out in my head. These days, however, it's a very common fear. You get this uneasy feeling in an empty hallway between shiny metal lockers hearing nothing, but slight teaching behind classroom doors. It's a feeling that makes me ask, "When will the silence be broken? Not by the sounds of classroom doors opening, and kids stomping down the hallway, but by the sound of a storm, a hail of metal flying through the air, muffled screams desperately fighting back against the unrelenting fire, and then would it go silent again? Along with me?"

It's getting harder to avoid that question, one that many students have found themselves asking, "When will it be my school?" I suppose the answer to that question is not important. It's like asking what you won before you see the lottery numbers. We won't know who gets hit til it happens; all we can know for sure is that some school will be picked and lives will be lost. Maybe not your kid's school, maybe not your kid's friend, and maybe not your town, but every person holding a textbook or pointing at a whiteboard is in danger. Now I'm a teenager, not a senator or a congressman, but by god I hope someone reading this is. Me and my fellow students have cried for change, screamed for the right to feel safe in the four walls we sit in every day. Be an American and instead of protecting your "rights" to have a person destroy, hear our screams, and protect your children's and family's lives.


By Cydnie Day
Sophomore at Redmond High School

One of the most horrific situations I can think of is when a place you feel most comfortable becomes the very source of all your fear and anxiety.

School, already stressful with high expectations from teachers and endless amount of work, includes a whole new stressor—the reality that at any moment your school could be the subject of horrific violence.

Student Voices

The screen shines on my pale face as I watch the news in front of me. The story is about a school where a man shot children with no remorse, horrifying, really. I tasted pure fear and disdain in my mouth as I watched the middle-aged man talk about the event. It makes me think about how I truly feel walking into school every day.

I pretend I don't feel a small sense of dread each time.

I fear that maybe one day I'll hear the gunshots ring throughout the halls. I feel that maybe one day I'll see my classmates, my friends, dead on the cold tile floors. I fear of sitting in a dark classroom huddled next to my fearful classmates with no other protection from the cold silver bullets than a wooden door. I fear that the shooter breaches our wall of protection, taking away the only hope we had for survival, and the feeling of a bullet piercing my skin.

Day 2

I think of how my family would feel. My mother and father would weep at the loss of their little girl, gone too soon. My brother would be filled with regret at the fact that he was rarely ever with me at Christmas or on my birthdays. My sister would get high and forget I ever existed. My Papa's heart would stop beating. My grandma would mourn the deaths of a grandchild and a husband.

I think if I had managed to survive. The guilt I'd feel standing by my deceased friend's casket and the fact that I lived and they died. That guilt only being exploded into pure shame when I see the sobbing faces of their families. As I lay a white rose on the glossy wooden lid of the cruel chamber of death, I cry. I cry for not only this life that was lost but the countless others.

And if I didn't survive.

"Here lies a soul that left this earth far too soon." That's what my gravestone would say. I'd lie cold in a fancy wooden box as my family and friends stood around and mourned my young lost soul. My father would say my eulogy. He'd say how determined and full of hopes and dreams I was, how I could make a whole room laugh with one quick phrase. He'd say how I was gonna change things, no matter how small. I'd get buried under heavy dirt next to people who had fallen before me.

School used to be my safe place, but no matter how much I try to convince myself, that safety is gone. We're all too busy fighting over what the best solution is when things are only getting worse. These events really put into perspective how in one moment your whole existence can change.

As a student you learn to live with the fear, you push it to the back of your mind and tell yourself that that'll never happen to you. The truth is, it could happen to anyone. It really shows you how much we fight over things. Even when that solution someone is fighting against could be the difference between life and death.

The Victim's Perspective

Student Voices
By Logan Morley
Senior at Redmond High School

One kid can only take so much,

So much before he has had enough.

People always looked down on me,

Saying I was nothing,

When I tried to be something.

When I was a kid, I would dream.

I would dream that one day I would be,

A star, a hope, a role model to some,

But here I am holding a gun.

If you could ask anyone they would say,

They would say how happy I was.

How I was energetic, how I was kind,

But that was elementary school,

When I first started getting ridiculed

I talked to my parents,

My parents did nothing.

Said they were kids, they will learn someday.

That day never came,

I was never saved.

Middle school started, hoping everything changed,

Everything changed, but not in the right way.

The people didn't change, the bullying changed,

They did it every day

There's social media today.

The bullying never stopped, the school never helped,

The school never helped me save myself.

So there I lie in a depressed state,

Wishing this was over,

It would never be over.

My parents never saw this, no one ever cared,

No one ever cared, so why would I try, if no one else dared.

Middle school is over, hopefully it would be better,

Once I can start new in high school,

I could possibly be cool.

First day of high school, off to a good start,

Off to a good start, maybe the kids had a change of heart.

I can finally surpass what the kids were.

My classes are great, my friends are amazing,

I feel like I am always stargazing.

The dreams in my eyes, the one I will achieve,

The one I will achieve to obtain victory.

But for some reason, the past repeats itself.

The bullies found me, I wanted to cry,

And all of my hope just went goodbye.

My depression enhanced, I thought I was done,

I thought I was done, until I spotted my gun.

The idea came to me in a flash.

I was done being bullied, I wanted a try,

Those bullies will suffer, and soon they will die.

The next day of school, the day has come,

The day has come, for people to run.

I knew what I was doing was flagrant.

That didn't stop me, my mind was set,

That now this day, I was the threat.

I walked the hallways I once thought were safe,

I once thought were safe, I had a clean slate.

But now I walk with the thought of fear.

I broke into the class the bullies were in,

When I entered, their heads started to spin.

I took one look, and instantly I knew,

I knew what I had to do.

I pulled out the gun, and started my cause,

What they were thinking, there was no telling,

But the noise they were making, was all of that yelling.

The screams are no more, there's peace in the room,

There's peace in the room, that's what I assumed.

I would no longer get bullied, I was free.

I turned around, and couldn't believe my eyes,

That those students just died.

The police came soon, I was the criminal,

I was the criminal, and there was nothing I could do.

I could tell you this much, I knew I've done wrong.

But at least I'm at ease,

With all of this peace.

At this point, only times could tell,

Only time could tell if I'm going to hell.

Now here I am, lying in prison.

I'm dreaming of what it would be like,

If I was a star, a hope, a role model alike.

One Hundred Eighty Days

By Brenden Luna
Sophomore at Redmond High School

One hundred eighty days of classrooms we call hell

One hundred eighty days of classrooms that went well

Student Voices

And only one day is the day we all fell

But what does the system care about how that kid felt

Lost inside emotion and lost inside of their mind

Some kids got so messed up they lost themselves inside

We don't ever see it 'til the problem's too great

Kid shows up to school with guns it's too late

People think they can stop with just a lil' change

But people won't stop it they all still spreading hate

But maybe it's humanity that is the instigator

But maybe it's the leaders screaming, "Be a damn believer"

But how am I supposed to listen to someone who can't perceive us

When they're training us to grow up for when everybody leaves us

But let's get right to it, let's talk about the violence

People fight in the halls but nobody really likes it

Every single kid thinks they're more than the crimes but

Keep going 'til the law comes and they're out of time

Violence in the system is something that needs to leave

But that problem ain't leaving if all we're asking is please

Yelling at the problem won't crash it in steam

And yelling at that child won't make 'em come clean

He's gonna keep lurking, a predator who's searching

For the next person to say something and then learn it

Consequences for actions and words that we speak

Say the wrong thing and a kid's wrists start to bleed

This isn't a joke, don't understand why you're laughing

Bullies more like clowns these days but it's still happening

Saying "I'm big and you're small' but when I hit you where it hurts

the bigger they are the harder you fall

I won't stop and say anything while it's going on

Because we waited and waited till we were waiting too long

Now it's out of hand because of bad dads and moms

Who couldn't teach their kids between the rights and the wrongs

Taking away the guns won't stop the corruption

I've seen plenty kids throw hands up for nothing

Just somebody messin' with the wrong kid stuntin'

A different type of violence is what we get from our teachers

Apparently they care but just shout and won't believe us

I can say the same thing to two different staff

One gave me detention while the other one just laughed

Because there is no specific way that they have to fall in line

But the students walk in rows down the hallways through the lies

I've been living in this system since about the age of five

I can't make you understand but I can help you to see

If we all were treated right these kids would never bleed

So don't forget the lesson that your boy has just spoken

Next time you mess with someone realize what you've awoken.

Gun Violence

By Ella Bakker
Junior at Bend Senior High School

Since the beginning of high school, I've become particularly interested in politics. Topics I'm most interested in include women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights, abortion rights and health care. When the opportunity to share my opinions with the community arose, I was very interested. One of the topics I am most fascinated by is gun control. Gun control is a divisive, complicated issue that has affected many people.

I am 16 and not yet able to vote, so I find that it's important to be involved with the community while inspiring change in any way I can. Although I would be quite content if guns only existed in the hands of qualified, racially unbiased law enforcement and other individuals on behalf of our nation's defense. I know that this is not possible, both in the current political climate, and given our constitutional rights.

The Second Amendment protects the right of any American citizen to bear arms and to protect themselves against any form of danger, including to defend themselves against a tyrannical government. Currently, many Americans feel safer in their homes with a gun; in this case acting as a form of defense in reaction to a potential intruder or threat. I don't believe this right should be taken from anyone. Unfortunately, in reality, this right is abused and has caused great tragedy. I don't have to remind you of the school shootings we seem to watch pass on a near monthly basis, or individual inner city shootings caused by guns put in the wrong hands. If you are a parent, the fear of a school shooting has probably crossed your mind, or even caused you anxiety.

If you're a high school student, like me, you've probably also experienced this fear. In my hometown, Chicago, Illinois (sometimes known as Chiraq), there exists some of the highest levels of gun violence in the country. The fact that this fear and these threats are completely preventable is, frankly, depressing and unacceptable. As a community, as a society—we must come together and make a bipartisan decision to create stricter gun laws. In conversations I've had with classmates who are anti-gun control, I find that we actually have several beliefs in common.

In the end, we want maximum benefits to all while preserving the basic rights that all persons are entitled to. In my mind, strict regulation should include thorough background checks. Mental health status, criminal history, and household information (for example, the presence of minors would entail ensuring a safe locked position for the weapon).

Looking beyond all these issues and the division they create, what is most important is that we include and respect the opinions of all people—politicians, citizens, and even teenagers like myself.

We need to find empathy and respect within ourselves in order to generate positive change. In the undying words of Mahatma Ghandi, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world."

The Weapons In Our Minds

By Kylie Marie Lanuza
Summit High School student

Student Voices
Taking away a knife will not stop me from cutting.

That is something my mother does not understand. When depression leads you down the road of self harm, the act of bleeding and the drip of scarlet blood becomes necessary. By taking my knives I do not feel the need to be any less, I will only take scissors to do such, and when those have disappeared from the drawers and cups, I will still find a way, removing a thumb tack that holds up beautiful artwork in pastel colors and bold lines, and I will draw my own lines of red from my flesh.

Just because you take away what you think is wrong doesn't mean it's gone. We as people wish to look at the outside, finding flaws in that around us and not seeing the flaws we ourselves hold. We cannot blame the knife for the cut, we must blame the mind for the poison that brought us to this.

Same goes for gun violence, I am not in any way saying that guns are okay. I'm simply saying maybe that a gun itself is not the only issue that causes these horrific occurrences such as that of the many nationwide school shootings. Taking away guns as a whole is not the solution, we will only find other ways. I'm saying that it's our mental state that drives people to this. If I were to ask if you have ever kicked to the dirt and felt worthless, I'm positive you would respond with absolutely. We are constantly ridiculed and cast out by others; unwanted and unloved, we sink deeper into our own mind, finding out what's darkest about ourselves. And we begin to become less and less sane, losing our minds, we lash out. We look to punish others for how we feel. And at the end of the day how can we trust ourselves with a lethal weapon, if this is how we are?

How do we fix this? How do we stop these people from drowning in their own sorrows and the hate that people spread? We need to stop looking into the barrel of a gun and telling ourselves this is the only problem, we need to dig into our hearts and our minds and change from within. We need to go into our school armed and loaded with knowledge and care, ready to help children to cope with the seemingly impossible juggling act of school, home, social lives, and just life itself. We need to give them tools to fight off depression and anxiety. We need to throw them a life raft in the overflowing sea of emotions, we cannot let more kids drown.

As of right now we have a school counselor ratio of 1 to about 500 to 800 students. There is not enough time in the day to speak to each child and get to know them as an individual. We sign useless pieces of paper with our names hoping to get even a second to speak with our counselors. Signing up day after day to eventually realize we will never get the help we need. As if we don't matter enough to be heard. So we sew our mouths shut because we already know we have no voice.

How is it the schools do not see this? Somehow they believe that this is no issue, so fences sprout from the ground, doors lock, IDs are scanned, people follow us to watch our every movement. This how our schools respond, As if this will help the problem. As if what is trying to hurt us is outside. What they don't realize is they are infuriating the already angry students by restricting our freedoms, making us resent the institution.

I for one scoff at this, as if a fence will stop those who attend the school from bringing a loaded gun, as if an ID scan will stop the barrel of an AK 47 from being pointed at our fellow classmates, as if a woman with paper and a pen and threatening us with detention is going to stop the will to hurt others. If there is a will there's a way. And schools aren't stopping that.

So what do we do? Do we take away all guns? Do we implement more mental health care? There is no true answer, but I believe we can find a solution we can all agree on. We will find a mid ground. And I propose we do it sooner than later, to save the lives of our loved ones. We need to cut down on our guns, we need stricter laws, more frequent and mandatory mental health checks. We need a limit on how many firearms per household. We need to make mental health care more accessible to students at school, we need to help those who are suffering enough to want to make others feel their pain. We as taxpayers need to push this forward if we are to see change.

Studies have shown that because we allow concealed firearms in this country we have one the highest gun violence rates in the world, with over 100,000 people killed in the year of 2016. As compared to Denmark, this is 27 times higher. Compared to Canada, this is eight times higher. Compared to Germany, this is about 32 times higher.

If that doesn't tell you something I don't know what will. Lets model ourselves off of these countries and reduces precious lives lost. But at the same time keep our second amendment right so that if and when we need to rebel the institution we can. Let's stop this senseless violence. Let's not separate ourselves, lets us all live together once again and not have to fear if today is the last day of our lives.

That is why I as high school student ask voters to vote for more restriction gun restriction law, better health care, more money from your taxes to help children get the help they need. Talk to our representatives, our governor; All I ask is that you let authorities know, that you vote. Let your voice be heard. So that kids do not have to fear for our lives we enter the school doors. I ask you keep us safe. Tomorrow is a brighter future, if you will it to be.

Shots Fired

By Quinlan Crowe
Student at Sisters High School

Shot down by our own
Shot down by the young and the old
Shot down by the sad, mad, and confused
Shot down by those who don't know how to, or want to express anger, frustration or sadness
in another way
Shot down by the lost

Countless days spent mourning
Countless days "We will always remember"
Countless lives lost
Countless sacrifices made
Countless lives changed forever
Countless days spent wondering "What if?," "When", and "How?"

Will we really remember all the lives lost?
Will we really remember all the dates to mourn?
Will we really remember all the places of tragedy?
Will we really remember all that has gone down?
Will we really change?
Student Voices

Join us!

The Source Presents: Student Voices
Mon., Oct. 29. 7pm
At Liberty Arts
849 NW Wall St., Bend
Students will read from their work and discuss gun violence in schools in a Q&A format.

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