Happiness is a warm gun (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
Happiness is a warm gun, mama (Happiness bang, bang, shoot, shoot)
When I hold you in my arms (Oo-oo oh yeah)
And I feel my finger on your trigger (Oo-oo oh yeah)
I know nobody can do me no harm (Oo-oo oh yeah)

I am crushed. I am angry. I am fearful. I am sick and tired. Words are hard to control right now. A lockdown at my alma mater, El Rancho High School, was issued when a student reportedly tweeted his plan to implement a wave of murderous violence. Conflicting reports say he was found in a classroom with a gun and/or a bomb was intended to be detonated in the stadium. However, as the day wore on, details became clearer.

The student who allegedly tweeted his desire to attack the school was only joking. Yet security protocols monitoring student activity on social media flagged words that triggered a call to the local sheriffs They mobilized, armed in riot gear, arresting the student. He wasn’t armed and the terrified student was reduced to tears, learning a tough lesson in consequence. But, it didn’t end with him. The rumor mill went into hyperdrive and another incident occurred parallel to the first. Word soon spread that other students were on campus with guns, something that has not been confirmed or denied at this time. Regardless, the damage was done and a new era was ushered into ERHS, one that will have long term effects on the school’s culture as it begins to redefine how it can keep its students and faculty safe.

My sister is an educator at ERHS. She should not have to fear for her life, nor should any of her students. The solution is NOT to arm teachers, a betrayal of their true purpose.

This epidemic of gun violence is claiming too many lives. More, it is eroding any civility and optimism for a safe and sane reality. These events should not be “the new normal” for our children.

What’s wrong with us? Why aren’t we all being proactive to stop the NRA and its supporters from killing us all with their myopic and outdated interpretation of an amendment? Why aren’t we mad at the media for turning the disenfranchised and sick into martyrs and pop culture heroes with their rage?

Why aren’t we mad at ourselves? Why aren’t we mad at generations of disconnected parenting, where too many have opted for a quick fix. Take a pill. Take 28 days. These three letters are what is wrong with you. Here, look at your iPad. Watch this movie in your car because I don’t want to talk to you. Excuses. Band aids. No solutions.

Finality exists at the end of a gun barrel. Are years of being desensitized to violence finally reaping its horrible, intractable reward? We aren’t safe anywhere and the dream of being a haven against the woes of the world is now impossible to uphold.

I am proud of my Latino heritage. I am proud to be from Pico Rivera. I am proud to have graduated from El Rancho High School. However, as an American, I am not proud how we are propagating fear, intolerance and racism as a means of creating an “Other” to fear based on religion, sexual orientation and cultural backgrounds. You can’t shame and blame other for what ails this country anymore. We ALL carry the brunt as to why things feel out of control. Indifference and apathy are just as evil as racism and hate.

I will not stand by and let this event debilitate and diminish what I still feel is a great community — and country.

People, what else do we need to have happen in this world to wake us up from the ennui of status quo? SPEAK UP! Reach out to our leaders. Do something. Please, before we turn ourselves into a paranoid state of permanent fear.

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