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Thoughts on Parkland: 'I Can't Get Myself to Understand'

Grace Stone

Understand, I am always trying to figure out why people care so much about their guns.

I think back to an evening in a rural Pennsylvania college town, our AirBnb scattered with take-out Chinese that tasted like nothing except MSG. My friend’s dad had a fear of silence in the house; the news was always on or he was always talking or both.

When he would wake up at 5 a.m., we’d hear CNN blaring through the thin doors, the same morning announcers’ privilege-driven voices repeating the same two words over again: Parkland Shooting.

At night, we lay on the pull-out bed splayed with college brochures, our brains aching from the brain dump of information we’ve just received. CNN Town Hall - Let’s give the students a voice, they say. Let’s make this Parkland issue relate to politics, and bring NRA and questionable, semi-hated Marco Rubio in for a little cinematic excitement, some drama to contrast against their typical tell-all news.

We watch the event for two or so hours, only preventing tears with our anger towards that NRA representative. The whole time I can’t get myself to understand why.

Why are killing weapons, semi-automatic rifles, easier to buy than handguns? Why can’t they just install tougher background checks?

I’ve spent weeks now grappling with this idea of guns and what they symbolize: power. And as much as I sympathize with gun collectors and those who are afraid and need a gun for self-defense, as I watch this CNN Town Hall episode, my body shakes with construed misunderstanding of how these sixteen, seventeen, eighteen-year-old students’ best friends were so easily shot by an FBI-known threat. 

I simply just don’t understand. 

I’m still trying.

Grace Stone is a contributing writer for Raise Your Voice. She is a student at Waynflete in Portland.