On May 7th, 2011, the indie rock band, Foster the People, released their hit single, Pumped up kicks. With the songs catchy lyrics and happy tone, it’s easy to lose yourself in the song and become blind to the deeper meaning. Mark Foster explained the song’s meaning to Spinner UK: “‘Pumped Up Kicks’ is about a kid that is basically losing his mind and is plotting revenge. He’s an outcast, he’s isolated. This youth is becoming more and more isolated.” Foster says he considered writing the song from the perspective of the victim, but felt that would be a cop out. He also points out that there is no actual violence in the song, as the threats are all the kid's internal monologue. In a Rolling Stone Magazine interview, Foster explains, “I was trying to get inside the head of an isolated, psychotic kid. It’s a f--k you song to hipsters, in a way, but a song that hipsters want to dance to.” After the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in December 2012, Pumped Up Kicks was ripped away from radio stations. Mark Foster agreed with the decision to pull the track out of respect for the victims, adding that he wrote the song about the growing trend of mental illness among teenagers in a bid to create a conversation about the need for change. I remember being in 5th grade and listening to the song on the radio with my dad before he later on explained to me the actual meaning of the song. As he told me what it meant he also talked about the Kelly Elementary School shooting just a year or 2 prior. Since then I’ve always been on alert that at any moment anything can happen. Hearing Pumped Up Kicks on the radio or Pandora in the many years to come, I’ll never forget the tragic and sick school shootings that have happened throughout history. SongFacts. “Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People Songfacts.” Song Meanings at Songfacts, 2018
15 year old student, Samantha Deitsch, wrote a chilling poem regarding her day at school on February 14th, 2018, at Stoneman Douglas High School. The shooting also happened to be on the day of her birthday. On the day of the incident, school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, pulled the fire alarm so he could then carry out his malicious act while the students were out in the open. Deitsch writes in her poem “Still without knowing if it's just a drill, Hiding in the closet as our nerves fill, I receive a text from my mom, “Are you okay?”, That’s the moment I knew, this isn’t a normal birthday.” She also writes, “Yes indeed I turn 15 this day, Goodbye is something to my classmates I never got to say, I lost too many friends thanks to Nikolas Cruz, Until gun policy changes, how many more do I have to lose?” With over 16,000 likes and more than 5,500 retweets, Deitsch’s poem spread across twitter like wildfire, catching the eye of many. She expresses her sadness toward gun policy and how she wonders how much more we will have to lose in order for there to be some type of change in the United States. I enjoyed her poem myself, and even happened to see it on Twitter soon after it was posted. I feel as though this is as close as I can be to truly understanding what those victims of school shooting go through. Although it is tragic, I’m glad Deitsch wrote this poem and is bringing light to how brutal and terrible a school shooting is and how there needs to be a change sometime soon in the future before it’s too late. Begley , Sarah. “Poem From Florida School Shooting Survivor Goes Viral.” Time, Time, 2 Mar. 2018
In the Youtube video posted by Sandy Hook Promise on December 2nd, 2016, you follow a teenage boy named Evan. Through the whole video you watch him fall in love with a girl who he is exchanging notes with in the library. But if you look closer into the video you will notice that while Evan is falling head over heels for this unknown girl, there is an unknown student in the back who is displaying intense signs of a school shooter. You can see him reading magazines about guns, flipping off other students, being bullied and watching videos of people shooting guns. At the end of the video Evan finally meets the girl who he has been exchanging notes with in the library inside the gym during a yearbook signing. But sadly, moments after, the unknown students mentioned earlier walks into the gym with a loaded gun and starts shooting. Sandy Hook Promise’s point was to show that the signs of students showing violent tendencies often go unnoticed in the day to day hustle of high school. The one thing I’ve taken away from this PSA is to, one, never bully anybody, not just to avoid a potential school shooting but because bullying isn’t nice and nobody deserves it, and two, always keep a close eye on students who seem isolated or are being bullied. If everyone could come together and along with being at peace with one another, also be more aware of how one's actions affect others, we could put a stop to school shootings. Sandy Hook Promise, director. Evan . Evan , Youtube , 2 Dec. 2016
In Time’s article, Columbine 10 Years Later: The Evidence, the chilling remnants of the horrible Columbine Massacre are photographed in a chilling way. On April 20th 1999 Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris shot 12 people at Columbine High School. Throughout the articles pictures there is disturbing images of the various weapons used, Harris and Klebold’s plan drawn out, victims clothing, damaged school property and much more. This photojournalism piece really has shown me the sad reality of school shooting. After seeing these pictures I feel insane amounts of remorse and sadness that something this horrible had to happen back then, and is still happening now. These pictures have portrayed the true terror that occured in Littleton, Colorado on April 20th, 1999 TIME. “Columbine 10 Years Later: The Evidence - Photo Essays.” Time, Time Inc.
Gun Violence in America, posted by The Washington Post, discusses a well-known and idiotic opinion most popularly agreed with by Donald Trump. The idea that in order to solve gun violence in America, we as a nation should add more guns to the problem instead. “The President remained focused on the solution he often proposed after a mass shooting: increasing the number of people with guns so they can quickly stop shooters with lethal force.” After the tragic shooting on February 14th in Florida, members of the community attended a meeting with the President and were shocked and sickened by his simplistic response as they were asking for his help regarding preventing massacres. The President’s “solution” to this world-wide problem doesn’t necessarily work either. These people are looking for real help, and Trump’s response just isn’t cutting it. The fact that the President of the United States is handling these tragic and real situations with dumb tweets such as, “My sincere sympathies go out to the families of all these innocent victims”, is pathetic. How can this country ever move on if the leader of it can’t comprehend the realities of incidents? How will school and mass shootings ever come to a stop when even the leader of our nation’s solution is so idiotic? I’m glad that the “families of all these innocent victims” are now speaking out loud and clear for a change. I hope that these families never give up and push for a change until it becomes reality. The Washington Post. “Opinion | Gun Violence in America.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 23 Feb. 2018
This article, published by The New York Times explains how Florida school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, showed every red flag. After the tragic Stoneman Douglas High shooting on February 14th, students and neighbors traded stories of strange things that could’ve possibly been signs leading up to the incident. Along with being expelled from Stoneman Douglas a year prior, Cruz also posted pictures of dead animals and rifles on social media, commented “I want to become a professional school shooter” on Youtube and had police in his driveway frequently. Mr. Gold, a friend of the Cruz family said, “He had emotional problems and I believe he was diagnosed with autism”. Sarah Edelsberg, 16, recalled being afraid of him, “he would shout things and move his arms in weird menacing gestures.” This article brings light to how important it is to keep a close eye on someone who may be showing strange behavior. As the many community members interviewed for this article said, Cruz was showing all the signs, but nobody did anything about it. Although it may seem invasive, I think that understanding what causes a person to do such a malicious act and doing everything possible to stop them, if you suspect something, is one of many steps we as not only a community, but as a nation, can take to better help prevent school shootings. Fausset, Richard, and Serge F. Kovaleski. “Nikolas Cruz, Florida Shooting Suspect, Showed ‘Every Red Flag’ .” The New York Times, 16 Feb. 2018