Pittsburgh Shooting Rocks the Country

Sitting in synagogue on a Saturday morning with my family, I received news that shook my world. At a synagogue in an East Coast suburb, just like the one I was currently in, there had been a shooting. I can honestly say this news brought tears to my eyes. As I sat in synagogue— my peaceful place, my place of worship— with tears brimming my eyes, I thought, “What’s next?” What “safe” place that we all go to in order to feel content, at home and at peace, is next?

Robert Bowers, age 46, came into The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh at around 9:54 A.M. on Saturday, October 27, killing eleven men and women and injuring even more. The oldest person to be killed was 97-year-old Rose Mallinger, a woman who had lived through the time of the Holocaust, yet could not survive the violence in her own country today.

The number of traumatic, violent events that have taken place in our country in the past year are hard to think about. The sad thing is that there is no definitive solution, no way to stop the weapons and hate; they will always be out there. At this point, many of us sit at home and pray and hope that there is something we can do to make it all end, to make our safe havens safe again. I, a fourteen year old living on Long Island, have to live in fear that someone is going to come up behind me and shoot me. Irrational, some may say, but the hate and easy access to guns scares me, and at this point, it feels as though there is truly no safe place.

We want to say that security is the answer. Fight the guns with…even more guns? The guns are the problem, the hate is the problem, it is all a problem that needs to be handled by all of us, before it can be handled on a global scale. The stem of this issue is hate. It is frustrating for me to see the anger and malice on a small scale throughout my day-to-day life, when there is so much dangerous hate surrounding us all. I see kids being mean to others on the daily, without even realizing the hate that they are spreading. Naturally, these kids also want a safe country, yet they do not realize that the meanness they are spreading may one day lead to a bigger issue. This is extreme, yes, but may also be true.

So what can we do? We can all be nice, be empathetic, include others, and make sure we raise our children and teach the people we are around to accept and not hate. As high schoolers, we must begin to keep the peace within our own communities, and if we want to make a change, we must continue to do this.

How much is it going to take to make people open their eyes? A shooting in their hometown school, movie theater, or place of worship? We all pray we will not be next, but we must also begin to take action. Gun violence, hate crimes, and violence in general: it is all a nationwide issue that we must begin to fight. We must unite because democrat, republican, or in between, we all ultimately want the same outcome: a safe and peaceful country. So, if you want to make a change, start by spreading love in your homes and communities, no matter what.