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Op-Ed: Close to Home

By: Brielle Katz (9th Grade)

When I think about shootings, I think about the Parkland massacre that occurred on February 14, 2018. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting made me realize just how unsafe the world has become. Since that day, these dangers have become more evident to me; from Pittsburgh, Poway, Denver, Florida, and so many other places, every shooter has an agenda and a different reasoning for their crime.

Just this week, on May 12th, members of our community encountered a near-death experience when shots were fired outside of Cafe Mozart in Sunny Isles. Most likely the target of the attack was Rapper NBA Youngboy. His car was shot at on his way to perform at the music festival Rolling Loud. Luckily, the rapper left unscathed, but sadly, his friend was killed and his girlfriend was wounded. The shots also hit three bystanders who were beside the car.

The very same evening, my family and I were at a restaurant in downtown Miami. As my family was getting ready to leave, policemen came running into the building exclaiming how a threat had been made to shoot down the restaurant. Usually, when I’m at a public place like a shopping mall, or restaurant in a safe area, I don’t question my security. When I am with my family, the people I love most, I always feel safe. I could not believe that a place in which I had once felt secure, was now compromised.

I’ve heard about shootings so many times, but the severity never truly registered with me until that day. The possibility of a shooting happening near me truly put the value of life and the dangers of the world into perspective for me.

It has always been hard for me to grasp the idea of being in an environment where a shooting may occur, but after what I heard about Mozart, and what I felt from being in a potential shooting, I have become so much more scared. Scared of walking outside. Scared of going into public facilities. Scared of everyone. I have truly become aware that the issues we hear on the news are real; they exist. Yet even with these scary events, life goes on. Thankfully, everyone was fine at the restaurant, and I find peace with that. Still I have motivation. Motivation to live my life to the fullest and to help find a way to prevent shootings like this from happening again. Because if I really let this fear consume me, I would never be able to be truly happy again. As a society, we cannot let our fears define us. We must overcome our fears in order to live our lives to their fullest potentials.

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