From the turmoil of 2009; when in Pakistan a revolutionary war was being fought against the Militant group ‘Taliban’ in the valley of Swat, and their hopes to take away the right of women to be freely educated, emerged a startling appearance of a woman who stood up against the oppressors and dared to fight back for what she believed was more important and crucial for a change towards a step in social revolution — the revolutionary emerging from the crisis was the legendary Malala Yousafzai.
As a resident of Pakistan, spending the better part of my life being educated abroad; I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting the United States.
And yet it seems to be a very crucial part of our existence.
Amongst all the political debate and the complicated issues that exist within the country — one issue has failed reach a catharsis.
Mass School Shootings.
What’s so eerie about the subject is that whilst United States is a country I seem to know so much about; watching many political debates and the issues discussed continually between politicians, no such issue has taken a toll on me physically and mentally such as the one of mass school shootings.
For years, I scratched my brain for meaning; trying to understand the underlying reason for these tragedies to reoccur continually.
And yet to no avail.
Every time I hear the news of a mass shooting, I can’t help but feel like I too am a citizen of the United States.
It wasn’t until the recent Parkland Shooting that made me realise — what bothers me is the lack of meaning, the lack of reassurance, the lack of political policy change, the lack of humanity and the meaninglessness behind the gruesome act being committed.
My profession as a Researcher naturally wired my brain to find patterns. Connect the dots. Find resolution.
I won’t go into the natural debate that often pursues when such an act of agony is committed. The usual excuses and explanations for why such a thing could’ve, would’ve, or should’ve happened.
When the FBI agents, announced that they had been made aware of the culprits intentions but failed to act; I could relate to their explanation. I tried to rationalise how I as a young Research would try to ascertain which Data was worth investigating and which wasn’t.
But a sudden realisation blistered through my bones; that this situation was different, because it wasn’t the lack of resources that the FBI had failed to act — it was simply plain ignorance. The assumption that maybe, just maybe this was just another one of those lousy comments that had no meaning.
And that’s what’s so complicated about Mass Shootings — they often have no meaning at all what so ever. Which is what enrages people to a point of hopelessness.
For an individual who has never visited the United States and has probably no real emotional attachment to it; feel absolutely tormented by this recent shooting it made me realise that it’s the inhumane act of mercilessness that had broken me down. I felt as though this wasn’t a shooting in the United States, it was a shooting in my neighbourhood and somebody I might have come across had done such a thing.
People often find it easier to draw patterns after the event; of course it was ‘him’, it had to be ‘him’. But how does one prevent such an act from happening before the fact. When we’re not even sure who the next culprit might be.
Is it more Gun Control?
Is it Mental Illness?
Is it Negligence?
Is it just pure ignorance?
Now I’ll be honest, I don’t understand all these issues; and I will not pretend to.
What I do know is this.
I live in a Third-World Country. Born and Raised. We’ve had our fair share of violence and our fair share of terrorists that have been bred out from our neighbouring countries. But behind all that was a reason, we could tell who the enemy was. We knew what their purpose was. We knew what we could do, should do, and would do, to prevent them from harming us.
The United States had the same opportunity; and they fought bravely when it came to it.
But mass shootings such as this don’t have an agenda, it’s not an army of religious militants fighting for a cause.
It’s a deranged human who has been pushed too far and sees the opportunity right in front of him and the means for him to carry out such a relentless act of violence without even hitting a speed bump.
So what do we make of it? Do we all just wait and hope that maybe just maybe this will stop?
Or maybe it’s the fact that for far too long we’ve been too concerned with what’s going on outside our country than within it.
When President Donald Trump said ‘Put America FIRST’ ‘Make America Great Again’, what the fuck happened to looking into your country Mr. President and actually pondering about what was more important.
Because I’ll tell what we did, and it wasn’t that complicated.
All it took after the Taliban’s attacked our mode of education was a girl who had more balls than you do to do what’s right.
And her voice was so loud that it shook the country back into line.
Schools were reinforced with excruciating security protocols. Metal Gates made to stop a tank were installed at schools. RFID chips were incorporated to identify students. Military Rangers, the same rangers that our Prime Minister, President, and Politicians’, lives are trusted upon were posted within the parameters of schools.
It didn’t cost much. And if a Third-World Country could pull it off, why on earth has the United States failed to protect its own people?
Because all we hear is that the threat to the United States is coming from the outside, that immigrants are to blame, terrorist groups are to blame; and maybe just maybe that might be right. And I don’t hold grudges against a country for wanting to protect itself. But how the fuck did you fail to protect your own country’s people from one another. A task that should be the Number One Priority of any president.
The answer is this: When we’re too concerned about what’s going on in other people’s house; we let our guards down on what’s actually going on within our house.
To the victims of this tragedy, all I have to offer is my sincere condolences. For I do not know you, I’ve never met any of you, and I sure as hell have never visited your country. But I share your pain. Because there’s nothing worse than feeling hopeless, there’s nothing worse that no matter how loud you shout — thing’s just don’t seem to change. But the survivors and the students earn the highest regards; for they are the real heroes. They stood up, like our own Malala did, and had the balls to say what is the absolute truth. Something needs to change. We don’t just need America to be great again; we need the World to be great again. And know that no matter how far you are; we share your pain. For we may not have witnessed it, or have been a part of it; but I assure you that tears are shed here just the same — witnessing this ruthless act of absolute violence and the ease with which this could have been prevented.
I as a human being share your pain, and I hope that things to do get better. Because for now, that’s all I can hope for.