The number represents how many people have died because of mass shootings since 1966. On October 27, 2018, eleven people were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue. On November 8, 2018, twelve people, including college students, were killed at a California country music bar. The following is a collection of student opinions regarding mass shootings.
“I remember someone telling me that religion brings nothing but violence. That religion does not promote peace, but rather hatred. That religion will be the downfall of humanity.
When I heard about the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting, I remembered this conversation. However, I didn’t remember this conversation because I’d found an example of religion-based hate—actually, it was quite the opposite. I remembered this conversation because I’d found an example that showed that religion is not the foundation of hatred. People are.
Hatred is a plant. A seed must be planted, nurtured, watered. Only then will it grow. This seed is not planted by a religion; it is planted by that person in which hatred grows.” -Rafeea Tamboli
“Orlando. Las Vegas. Parkland. Now Pittsburgh. They are communities; they are homes; they are people. In a time when the list of gun violence victims lengthens daily, we must refuse to desensitize ourselves to the devastating loss of life. Victims are ordinary people like you or me or your mom or best friend whose names are now forever stained with the connotation of violence and loss.” -Juliana Wojtenko
“How is it that everywhere I go I see people pushing for acceptance, for love, for tolerance, yet this country is still shrouded in hate and impatience and everything that we seem to be fighting against? How is it that in a country made of people from every corner of the world we are so intolerant and aggressive to those that are different from us? Is it our leadership? Is it the tensions between classes and races? Can anyone answer these questions?
The Pittsburgh shooting only brings the issue of hate that this country is facing further into the spotlight. This shooting should remind us that we are one: one country that should stand together to offer support and love to those who need it, one country that should be inclusive of everyone, one country that needs more than thoughts and prayers.” -Camila Angola
“Is every place we consider beloved a place in which we must also live in fear? School, concerts, places of worship…what more is left for these people filled with hate to take away from us? I imagine myself in my own temple––a place I go to worship, pray, think. This is a place where my relationship with God expands. To me, a temple is a place I am not supposed to worry. But now? Where does my relationship with my religion stand? Will I be in fear in my place centered around peace?
I can’t imagine what it must be like for the survivors of this attack. Losing this place of tranquility and worship must be one of the most heart aching experiences to individuals who rely on religion for their inner peace. To me, this would be as much of a loss as losing a loved one––with your place of worship gone, a piece of you is gone too.”
“As someone who volunteers for their church’s children’s ministry, hearing about the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting made me feel a mixture of anger, fear, and heavy-heartedness. I could not help but envision the fourth graders that I teach bible stories to and the kids who I’ve witnessed over several years embark on a journey in understanding religion, being robbed of their eager light in such a horrific manner. Immediately, I wondered how I would and if I would be able to protect them from such an ignorant monster, inappropriately equipped with a lethal weapon. My heart breaks for those lost in the shooting, it breaks for the victims’ loved ones, and it breaks for every American wishing to exercise their freedom of religion who is now forced to practice in fear.”
“I was brought up in both a Jewish and a Catholic household. My mom is Jewish, my dad is Catholic, and the most religious we get is when we say a prayer while lighting the menorah. Due to the lack of religion in my life, I’ve always felt disconnected from events happening in the Catholic or Jewish spheres of society. Until the events of Pittsburgh. Something about it struck a chord with me—perhaps it was the fact that my preschool was held in a synagogue, a place that for all of my life has symbolized safety and comfort. Or, perhaps it was the fact that the antisemitism and hate surrounding the shooting was reminiscent of what I thought was a different era. Regardless of the reason, this shooting cannot just become another statistic.”
“The horrific events of Pittsburgh and then only days later in Oakland California did not only steal innocent lives but also robbed me of what was the tag line of former President Obama’s Campaign: hope. What angers me is that these deaths were foretold by the massacre in Parkland, by the massacre in Sandy Hook, by the massacre in Columbine. Sometimes, however, I am gifted with small shimmers of hope; the flipping of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterms were one of those times. But even then, any celebration is bittersweet because regardless of the gun violence, there are still people in this country who love money more than lives. So although I want to rejoice over the 33 NRA endorsed candidates who lost in the recent elections, I am confronted by the 106 who won.”