Collection Agency: #neveragain


Thoughts and artwork from Sunset Media Wave Columnists on gun control, the National School Walkout, and the #neveragain movement. 

Just a few weeks back I was sitting in precalculus class when all the sudden the intercom went off, but nobody talked. All you could hear was static. At that moment, only the worst came to mind. I thought…what if there’s a shooter in the school and maybe the principal or one of the assistant principals tried to warn us but he knocked them out before they could warn us and that’s why we hear the static. This was the first time I’d ever felt like this at school. The United States has to do something about this. Our president has to do something about gun control. Not everyone should be able to have a gun. There needs to be some sort of regulation. This needs to stop! We’ve had ENOUGH!

Juana Tostado

Chantay at the Westmoor High School Walkout (pictured middle right in red plaid).

Our lives have been treated as if they don’t matter. Enough is enough. It’s time we make a change.

Chantay Borela

Photo by Pietro Juvara

Throughout time, the issue of gun control has gone largely unnoticed; only becoming a prevailing topic when catastrophic events occur, as it is now after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. But why must such a tremendous issue only be covered in light of current events? In Emma Gonzalez’s speech at a gun control rally on February 17, 2018, she stated,

“I found out today there’s a website Nothing in the title suggests that it is exclusively tracking the USA’s shootings and yet does it need to address that? Because Australia had one mass shooting in 1999 in Port Arthur (and after the) massacre introduced gun safety, and it hasn’t had one since. Japan has never had a mass shooting. Canada has had three and the UK had one and they both introduced gun control and yet here we are, with websites dedicated to reporting these tragedies so that they can be formulated into statistics for your convenience.”

Her speech was commemorative of recent events and, given she was a student at Stoneman Douglas during the shooting, able to elicit a pathological reaction in her audience. Gun control laws may never be solved. The NRA remains set in their ideals and political beliefs. But with the youth expressing their own ideals about gun laws, change may be on the horizon after all.

Lemar Deguzman

Photo by Pietro Juvara
Photo by Pietro Juvara

#Neveragain is a student-led campaign that advocates the extreme need for gun control. In a recent debate between the students of Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School and an NRA representative, a heated conversation occurred, resulting from a need for answers. Emma Gonzalez, one of the student speakers during the debate, used not only her brain, but her heart to deliver words supportive to her cause. Not many people can understand why a suggestion to #armteachers is a solution, and many others believe that this entire thing will eventually blow over. I believe that true passion to make a change will outlive just an excuse.

Sarah Tran

Photo by Juana Tostado
Photo by Juana Tostado
Photo by Juana Tostado
Artwork by Sophia Shen “Ocean of Tears”

Every year, SFUSD gives us a survey that asks if we feel safe at school. This is the first year that I said no. It didn’t hit me when there was another, multiple, reports on the news, interviews with crying mothers whose tears filled up the TV screens. It didn’t hit me when the protests intensified, when politicians broadcasting speeches waved their fists in the air and demanded change. It hit me when I walked into homeroom to hear my assistant principal’s recorded voice trying to explain how to physically disarm a person attempting to take my life. I do not feel safe at school. I do not feel safe walking hallways where people fold themselves away into corners because the windows are too big and bullets rip so easily through wooden doors. I do not feel safe when a mile away someone might be buying guns that could kill me. I know that we’ve busted out our armor and dug in on either side of a political war. I know that we have our differences, our preferences, our ways of life, our thoughts and our ideas. I know that some people say, “Arm the world, put guns in teacher’s offices, and hope that we can chalk it up to equality. They have weapons, so do we.” But if we choose to fight fire with fire, everything we love will just burn down. I want to feel safe at school, but I don’t want my safety to risk other people’s lives. I want to feel like school is a home, not someplace where people bust out artillery and start firing.

Sophia Shen

Sketch by Pietro Juvara