Photo courtesy of Vox
The following is a piece written jointly by members of the Student Government Association and does not reflect the views of the Newswire or its individual employees.
Nicholas Dworet was 17 years old. Early this past February, as the end of his high school career approached, he had committed to swim competitively at the University of Indianapolis. There, he’d spend the next few years competing at colleges throughout the Midwest and would have visited our own campus for the annual Xavier vs. UIndy swim meet. He had Olympic aspirations and would have competed at the 2020 Olympic team trials during his college career.
We say “would have” because Nicholas Dworet was murdered one month before his 18th birthday on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
That morning, a former student armed with a Smith and Wesson M&P 15 semi-automatic rifle — which bears a shocking resemblance to the weapons equipped with our service members deployed in combat zones abroad — pulled a fire alarm and began shooting indiscriminately into a crowd of evacuating students and teachers. The attack lasted no longer than six minutes and 20 seconds, and in that short time that man armed with that weapon of war extinguished 17 brilliant lives, including that of Nicholas Dworet.
Tragically, the events of Feb. 14 are just another bullet point on an ever growing list of school shootings almost too long to recount. In this day and age, the idea of an active shooter on campus seems commonplace as we fall ever deeper into hopeless inaction and bated breath while we await the news of more young lives cut down far too early. This happens in no other country where sensible gun reform measures prevail and firearms are not so deeply embedded in the culture. Meanwhile, our nation has been paralyzed with a shocking complacency toward the reality that not only can school shootings happen, but that they will — and the best we can do is hope no one we know is involved in the latest mass slaughter.
This upcoming Friday, April 20, at exactly 11:19 a.m. we will stand up and walk out of our classrooms and join in solidarity on the yard to remember the too many fallen. We will demand something more than paralysis. On that date at that time 19 years ago, the first shots rang out at Columbine High School in a moment that marked a turning point in our history. That tragic day and the culmination of tragic days since then have come to define a disrupted generation cut down by gun violence in our schools — a traumatic legacy that we as a nation have never fully come to grips with.
We invite all members of the Xavier community to join us on the yard.
Let us be clear, the walkout is not about taking away anyone’s guns. It is not about repealing the Second Amendment or engaging in some nightmarish totalitarian programe to deny the liberties of good-hearted Americans.
Rather, the walkout is about disrupting what has been a normal course of inhuman events that our society has allowed to perpetuate for far too long. It is about breaking free from the numbness inherent in the all too familiar cycle of tragedy-outrage-thoughts and prayers-innaction-tragedy. It is about answering crisis with action. It is about finally offering some measure of control in the midst of the national gridlock surrounding what can only be called a devastating national tradition.
We will not be next. We will not be silent.
That is why the walkout matters.
Johnny Srsich, SGA President
Brianna Boyce, SGA Vice President
Cole Stautberg, SGA Vice President
Ryan Kambich, Chair of Academic Affairs
Sam Peters, Chair of Off Campus Living
Jacob Jansen, Chair of Residential Affairs
Ellen Rakowski, Chair of Student Organizations
Lauren Gierla, Chair of Student Rights & Identity
This editorial was written by Ryan Kambich and Johnny Srsich.