FALL RIVER: With the amount of violent shootings taking place south of the border, the resulting deaths from shootings like Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas seem to have become the new normal. That’s something that doesn’t sit well with one Fall River youth.
Meg Smith, a former Lockview High School student who now attends C.P. Allen in Bedford, wrote a post that mom put on her Facebook page following the Las Vegas shooting, which left 58 dead and 546 injured, all of whom were attending the Route 91 Harvest festival. And then on Nov. 5 a shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas left more than 20 deceased.
The Las Vegas massacre was the last straw for frustration that had been peculating for sometime inside the 17-year-old.
“It’s very difficult for me to hear my parents and teachers to de-sensitize myself from all the problems going on, when death isn’t something we should desensitize ourselves too,” said Smith. “I think it’s important for someone who is young, being raised on this violence, to speak up and make it known that we donb’t want to be raised to feel this violence is acceptable for any country.”
The post created a lot of engagement from Smith’s friends and friends of her family.
“It needs to be something we don’t quash down,” she said. “It needs to be something we talk openly about because it’s something we’re facing not only as a generation growing up, but a global community with social media and the Internet.”
Smith said the issues will only continue to escalate if the U.S. government continues to ignore the problem.
“I’m not going to pretend how their government works,” said the well educated Smith. “It is clear that something needs to be done, whether that is on a large scale, if their country is willing on a small scale.
“These issues that are arising, especially with what happened in Texas to know children were killed and a community, such as a church which is meant to bring people together over a common positive, but instead they were killed.”
She has a lot of sympathy for the people who were impacted and feels for the people who had family members killed.
“I feel so much empathy towards what they’re going through, unable to communicate with the people who are supposed to be running their country,” said Smith. “I feel like issues that what happened in Texas need to be addressed not just by people talking and bluffing, and placating people not just within the government with people.”
Smith said it’s important to face issues head on and fight for what is right, whether it’s uncomfortable or not.
“I think it’s important for people like myself and my peers to face problems head on to encourage those who may not feel the same tendency or push them towards a proactive aim to fix the problem that clearly needs to be solved,” she said.
When asked if she fears growing up in a world that is seeing violence and shootings in the news almost on a daily basis, Smith admits it is scary.
“One of the things that propelled me to write the piece I posted was that the day the news of Las Vegas, I was sitting at my lunch table with my friends and I mentioned whether they heard what happened in Vegas,” said Smith./ “I heard a lot of ‘yeah, what a tragedy,’ and they moved on right away.
“My friends are the most sympathetic people I know but we have desensitized ourselves to this trauma because we’re living in an age where this violence is escalating. It’s scary to see them grow up and accept this type of death as a norm.”
What’s the message Smith wants people to take away from her post?
“My hope was tor each one person to make them feel that their opinions and desire to see this issue progress in a positive direction were not unwarranted,” said Smith. “Their voice to speak out, and the frustration at the U.S. government and how they’re handling all of this and all the death that’s happening.
“I just wanted to reach out to people just to make it known that their opinions are worth being heard and that we should challenge the norm that is beginning to set and creating this atmosphere of violence and decay.
“We should be talking about how to save lives, not how to mourn them.”