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Samantha Bennett, Location: Akers Hall

The first time I had to deal with a threat to my life was in elementary school when a bomb threat was issued to the high school close by. My second was Monday night. As a fifth grader, I was instructed to be quiet, and we all sat there with our heads down listening to the quiet tone of my teacher's voice as he read us the chapter book we were working through. Much like when I was 11, I sat huddled close to my dearest friends in silence, this time listening to the voice on the police scanner list buildings far too close to us to feel safe.

When I was 11, we had covered all of the windows so no bad people could see inside. When I was 19, we shut all the windows and blinds, turned the lights off, and pushed a futon that was a gift from my sister and some cases of water against the door. I didn’t cry when I was 11 but I cried when I was 19. I couldn’t write to my family when I was 11, but I could text my family when I was 19 to thank them for helping me get this far in life, to tell them how much I loved them, to hear them tell me I had to say that I was going to be okay, just so they could hear it.

I wasn’t relieved when my mom picked me up in fifth grade but when she picked me up as a freshman in college I was.

They ask me if I want to be trained and armed. I don’t want to fight guns with guns. I don’t want more people to die or get hurt; I don’t want to be scared anymore. I want change. Kids deserve to grow up. They were in college with a career in mind and a hope for friends and family to be with. No one deserved to die from something other countries aren’t having a problem with. This is just us. Kids deserve to grow up. Kids deserve to not be afraid to go to school. We need gun control.

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