Earlier today, I came across an article about a high school student’s suspension… for writing an empathy poem. An empathy poem for the Newtown shooter. Excuse me, but I don’t find anything threatening about Courtni Webb’s poem (its beginnings can be read here).
Webb and I are about a year apart in age, but in her poem I find my own thoughts. As a society, we take cover in finding scapegoats. We take pride in being so kind to our neighbors, when in fact we don’t care much. We choose to look the other way.
When I was in high school, I wrote a poem about silence, and how it is an accomplice to death. I wasn’t responding to any particular event around me. I was responding to a lifetime of observations. But what if I had been responding to a grotesque tragedy, one which had gone nationwide?
And I find it wrong that our youth can’t express their views about society when all around us, we are always being looked down on because “we’re not wise enough.” How are we to become wise enough if our words are pushed aside? If we talk about things “too soon” rather than too late? No, I’m not immune to what occurred on a Friday, in December of 2012. In my opinion, I thought it would serve America as a wake up call.
Look after your ill.
Don’t shun them. Don’t misunderstand them. Don’t keep them cooped up.
Look after your children.
Tell them you love. Tell them to be kind. Tell them they’re safe.
Look after your morality.
Don’t tolerate violence. Don’t tolerate abuse. Don’t tolerate bullets.
America, you are more than the sum of your dead. We are not the places we’re going– we are what’s happened and how we’ve reacted. We are a history that the textbooks never wrote down because we are too ashamed of what we are.