Bailey Ingham
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Why Won't You Listen to Me

American Guns

Columbine High School Survivors 

18. It’s how old I will be turning this year. It’s the average age of a high school graduate. It’s also how old you have to be to buy an Assault Rifle. It’s also how many school shootings occurred in the first month and a half of 2018.

17. It’s how old I am now. It’s also how many innocent people died in the Parkland shooting.

13. It’s the year you become a teenager. It’s also how many rounds a fully automatic weapon can fire in one second.

438. It’s how many students have been shot and killed at school in the time between Sandy Hook and Parkland.

438 deaths in 1888 days. On average that’s one death every 4.3 days, that’s not even a full week of school.


I’ve taken an American history class every single year since kindergarten.

“Life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.”

Well my pursuit of happiness will be cut short if your liberty to own a gun overrides my right to life.

They don’t teach you that in history class.

They teach us that history has two distinct sides

Right and wrong

George Washington was on the right

Hitler the wrong

But if every moment that passes becomes history, how do you know where you stand?

It’s the side that isn’t killing kids.

It’s the side that isn't telling kids that history is now being separated by a gun.

Asking if you will you be on the side of the trigger

Or the side of the bullet.


School’s not what it used to be, we’re learning things that aren’t on the curriculum.

The other day my friend jumped out of her seat because someone's car keys rattling sounded like a gun cocking.

The other day a car backfired and my friend dropped to the ground, hands covering his head.

The other day I was sitting in class, bored. But instead of daydreaming or counting down how many minutes until lunch, I was planning the quickest escape route in case a shooter walked in.

The other day someone asked me why I was excited to graduate. My first thought was because college’s get shot up less than high schools.


School’s not what it should be.

We’re ignoring the events that are affecting us.

Our dress code is stricter than our gun laws.

“Protest” is a bad word, even in civics class.

We’re told this is an “adult topic,” we should just stay out of it.

But the adults aren’t doing anything

And if I’m old enough to get shot I’m old enough to fight back.

For those of us that can’t vote this is our voice.

Will I get to change what is happening or will the lack of change kill me before I get the chance?

I don’t want to be known as “The Mass Shooting Generation”


50 million. It’s how many school children there are in America. It’s also how much money the NRA donated to the Republican party during the 2016 election.

America! Land of the free, home of the brave.

America! Where you’re more likely to die from a gunshot wound than from skin cancer.

Where we have as many guns as we do citizens.

Where I can buy a gun before I can buy a beer.

Where students being killed is a politically divided issue.

America. The country built on a constitution, a constitution that relies on it’s amendment process.

But lawmakers won’t consider amending a clause written 242 years ago because money is more important than children’s lives.

They scream patriotism but American’s are the ones dying.

They tell us “Guns don’t kill people! People kill people!” Yes, but then why is mental illness universal while mass shootings are American?


19. It’s the average age of a college freshman. It’s also how many years it’s been since the Columbine Massacre.

19 years and we’re still up here fighting. 19 years of children getting murdered and it takes students kicking and screaming to get anyone to listen.

They say hindsight is 2020.

2020. That’s 2 years from now. How many more children will be murdered by 2020. Will I still be at these rallies in 2020? Or will lawmakers be listening by 2020?

Why won’t you listen to me before I’m robbed of my voice.

You tell us that student protests do nothing.

But you also tell us that guns don’t kill people.

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