The Friday morning school shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas happened three months and four days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14. Since Parkland, there has been a groundswell of activism at high schools, with students walking out to demand action on gun control.
Some students from Santa Fe High School even participated in this movement.
This is the context necessary to understand this extraordinary interview with Santa Fe High School student Paige Curry conducted by the local station ABC-13. Curry, who is clearly on the verge of tears, is asked by a reporter whether she felt like the shooting couldn’t happen at her school. Her answer is profoundly sad:
CURRY: I managed to keep calm through it all. There was another girl who was just freaking out; they were struggling really hard to keep her calm. It was really — it was really scary.
ABC-13: Was there a part of you that was like, “This isn’t real. This could not happen at my school?”
CURRY: There wasn’t.
ABC-13: Why so?
CURRY: It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always felt it would eventually happen here too.
It’s even more affecting in video form:
Curry has a point: Though school shootings are rare events, they are becoming more and more common. A recent study co-authored by researchers at Clemson, Purdue, and the University of Alabama found that both the frequency and fatality of school shootings have increased alarmingly over the past two decades.
“In less than 18 years, we have already seen more deaths related to school shootings than in the whole 20th century,” Clemson’s Antonis Katsiyannis, the lead author, said in a press release summarizing their findings.
But there’s a more fundamental point here that goes deeper than these numbers.
Imagine being Paige Curry. Imagine coming out of a shooting at your high school, a place that is supposed to be a safe place for learning, and feeling terrified but somehow unsurprised. Imagine how normal, how routine, the threat of a school shooting has to have become for you to have that reaction after such an ordeal.
I don’t know about you. But for me, a nation whose kids see themselves as targets as well as students is a nation that is doing something profoundly wrong.