There Was Just a Fatal Shooting At The High School I Graduated From

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Abraham Lincoln High School, Philadelphia PA — Where I graduated from

What a surreal feeling it is to have typed the headline above and know it to be true. What I find almost as sad as the shooting that just took place itself is how often in today’s world a similar headline is typed. How numb we’ve become to the words school shooting, the same ones the media tries their damnedest to sensationalize. This wasn’t a sensational headline, it’s just my reality.

A 32 year old man was shot and killed just outside of the gymnasium of where I went to high school, three blocks away from where I live, in the very same spot I pass almost everyday on my morning run.

A fight broke out while there was a basketball game going on inside the gym, a fight that resulted in a man’s death. One I imagine was over something so minuscule and senseless, even the shooter who managed to get away won’t remember what it was over in a month. Yet a human being lost their life over it.

The school was immediately put on lock down, which happened once when I was a student there as well. A fight broke out as I was eating lunch and a student tried to grab the gun off of the hip of the officer who did his best to break the fight up. An all out riot broke out. I immediately left, went home and watched the rest from the safety of my couch. Luckily, nobody was seriously hurt that day.

This shooting was just the latest example of not only my neighborhood being on the decline but also of the harsh realities millions of kids across America face when they go to school everyday. A fist fight over nothing can result in a fatal shooting. A kid you’ve never spoken to could open fire for no reason.

The city of Philadelphia’s Public school system is atrocious. The schools allegedly receive $2 from every pack of cigarettes purchased within city limits. Now granted, the decaying and public safety hazard of a building I attended high school in has since been knocked down and rebuilt which is great. But while the new building is state of the art and far easier on the eyes, the problems on the inside have only seemingly exponentially increased.

Kids still seem to come and go at their own leisure, still run a muck through the neighborhood on both their way to and from school and still bring guns to school, apparently.

Before anyone who diddles themselves to the second amendment comments or emails me calling me a liberal, this isn’t an an article on gun reform. I see these tragic events as more of an us issue than a gun issue.

This also isn’t a mental health issue. It’s an inner city issue. A neighborhood issue. A local issue. One, even our local news stations moved on from hours later to report on a school shooting that happened in California — the complete opposite side of the country from Philadelphia. But the California shooting happened inside the classroom and makes for a better headline, so that’s where their attention is.

I see no end or solution to these tragic events. We will never live in a world without guns. Illegal and unregistered guns will always be available to criminals and violent people. I truly wish I had an answer to the problem but I don’t. It saddens me to think there may not be one and I pray I’m wrong.

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