Friday, May 18th marked yet another unnecessary tragedy in American history when a shooter walked into Santa Fe High School in Texas and opened fire, killing 10 people and injuring 13 more. It’s the most recent in a string of deadly school shootings that seem to show no signs of stopping. Many have started to feel like the possibility of a school shooting is a reality they must now learn to live with — which is why one student started the hashtag #IfIDieInASchoolShooting. It’s currently trending, and has inspired powerful and tragic tweets from students all over the country.
The hashtag was initiated by Andrew Schneidawind, an 18-year-old college freshman at University of Mary Washington. He spoke to Teen Vogue about his decision to start it, saying, “The reality of it is, I have this fear every day. I’m not as paranoid as some people, but still, while I’m listening to my professors lecture, I plan escape routes in my head.” When he heard about the Parkland, Florida shooting, he decided to take action.
Andrew’s plans to print out as many #IfIDieInASchoolShooting tweets as he can and mail them to Paul Ryan and other lawmakers who accept money from the NRA or who oppose change to gun legislation. He said, “These are real people telling the world what they’ll leave behind. It might make them feel bad and it will make them uncomfortable. But that’s the point. We don’t care about their comfort anymore, we care about ours. We want to be able to go to school not fearing bullets.”
Below are just a few of the most powerful responses so far:
The responses to the trending hashtag are difficult to read, but they need to be heard. Let’s hope that this inspires the change we so desperately need from lawmakers.