Opinion: Arapahoe High School shooting reminds us of the challenges we face as a society

By Chandler Baker, editor

To think, this time Friday we were all complaining about how early it was and how much homework we were getting the week before finals. We were all worried about our grades, our own personal agendas. Little did we know the events that would take place that afternoon just a few miles away would affect us all so much. I’d give anything to change the events of last Friday that occurred at Arapahoe High School.

Things like this really put all of our lives into perspective. This isn’t something that should just change how we act for the now; this is something that should change how we act forever.

When kids the same age as I am are dying in such horrible manners, we should not look to point fingers at who is responsible, for that charge lies solely upon the kid who pulled the trigger. But in trying to understand what led to those decisions, we are all to blame by not being accessible, not being humble and, therefore, lacking any shred of compassion and empathy. If we have nowhere to go, if nobody stands up for us, if society doesn’t lend a hand, there’s no telling what could happen.

More horrible still, to me at least, is the underlying question that haunts us: “How could we have let this happen?”

It pains my heart to know that much like Sandy Hook, Columbine and Aurora, Arapahoe will forever be remembered by our great nation as something that people whisper about under their breaths. I am sad, and I am scared. I am sad that an innocent girl lies in critical condition, holding on for life. I am sad that a close community was put through such turmoil. But, I am also scared. Who wouldn’t be scared with the current trend of school shootings that have happened? I am confident in the security at my high school, but still, so were many of the kids at Arapahoe. How many bad days must this child have had for his only conclusion, for his only way out or to be heard, was to hurt another?

How many people need to die before we as a people rise up and do something. It is depressing, disturbing and a dagger to the heart. To the two victims of Arapahoe High School’s tragic event Friday, to every single student who huddled in the dark crying, to every parent who drove frantically thinking the worst and to the shooter who took his own life as an only way to escape, I am so very sorry. I am sorry that taking your life was the only way out. I am sorry that the students in that school will carry this tragedy with them for the rest of their lives. I am sorry.

Arapahoe didn’t deserve this. The students who were hurt didn’t deserve this. But we were presented with a challenge today. To face this challenge Americans must invest in more research to better understand why children use guns against others and how to stop them, including risk factors, incident triggers and effective interventions.

Talk to the strangers in your classes, reach out to people who seem to be having a bad day.  It’s not up to politicians to help. It’s up to the people. Take a second to let someone know you’re there for him or her.

You might be saving a life.

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