Dedication to the Victims and Survivors of School Shootings
Ms. Burstein approached me a few weeks ago, asking if we could add a section in the next Kalliope online issue to commemorate the lives lost in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14th, 2018. The goal was to add to the current discussion catalyzed by this terrible tragedy. She said her tenth graders had written some incredible pieces of poetry about the shooting, and thought it would be an important addition to this issue. I couldn’t have agreed more, and thought that the Kalliope staff should add in some pieces of their own as well.
I have been thinking a lot about the school shootings that have happened this year. Not that I haven’t thought about them in the
past when a school shooting occurred, but after the Parkland shooting, many voices had risen up, louder than they had been before. “Enough is enough!” They said. No more children, no more teachers, no more innocent lives should be taken away.
At Frisch, we recently had a walkout where many students from the school, myself included, walked out of class at 9:57am and
gathered in the gym. At 10:00am we, along with many other schools across the world, had a moment of silence for the 17 people who died in the Parkland shooting. Then, we recited a psalm to express our mourning.
I realized through this moment of unity across the world, that our voices, together, can truly make a change. But our spoken voice is
only the beginning. Now we will depict our sorrow through the written word. We must show the world, through any and every aspect we can, the horrible fear and pain people are going through. We must make them understand that this needs to stop.
I would like to dedicate this section in our second official online issue of Kalliope to the survivors and victims of the recent school
shootings. It is important to recognize how abhorrent these shootings are, especially after our lockdown just a few days ago, when we truly believed that there was an active shooter nearby.
The fear was palpable in the air, and everyone was shaken for the rest of the day. Thank G-d it was only a false alarm. Even so, it was
quite traumatic for many students.
We cannot even start to imagine the pain and suffering of the people who were in or affected by real school shootings, but we can
try to be listeners and to express empathy for their pain
I hope this section truly does honor to the difficult topic at hand. But, no matter how you see it, the final message is clear. Enough is
Editor-In-Chief of Kalliope
Am I Next?
By Jake Nussbaum
At 10 o’clock in the morning of March fourteenth
Standing in solitude with the seventeen
Standing in the gym, not in class
I, with my peers,
Eyes and ears
Listened in misery to the list of victims who were murdered en masse.
“Alyssa Alhadeff, 14,” they’d said.
And I’d thought, Hey, I’m 14,
“Luke Hoyer, 15,” they’d said.
I’ll be turning 15 in 3 weeks, I’d thought.
Then at 10:17 a.m. we went back to class and the day was normal again.
Until 5p.m. when I went home and it dawned on me.
Am I next?
Will I be the next name to be added to that tragic list?
The next young life to cease to exist
The next universe reduced to two words on a page and a silent moment -
Will those two words be Jake Nussbaum?
Will it be my name?
Or my friend’s?
Or my teacher’s?
Or my sister’s?
Or my father’s?
If nothing changes right now, the sad answer
The awful truth
No matter how many marches
Led by our youth
No matter the speeches
If we speak or protest
The answer, my friends -
It will be yes
Does the government care more about
Please, we must be told
What do you value
What do you hold
Dearest to your heart
Your sick, black heart?
Of course you’ll pick guns
That’s what you’ll choose
Because you’re blind to the hate
And you’re not in our shoes
Until you are
Until the day you come home from work
And your child never comes home from school
Your heart starts beating out of your chest
Where are they? Oh God, let’s just hope for the best
But the best isn’t coming
They’re never coming
Your heart stops drumming
It completely freezes
You can’t breathe
You were hoping, praying for the best
But it happened. They were next.
And you didn’t even get to say goodbye.
By: Noah Schultz
Waking up to see
What life is meant to me
Going about with your day
In a very familiar way
But then you come to see
This isn’t always how it will be
Is life meant to be fair?
The chance was very rare
It came at you in a beat
Leaving with a defeat
Somebody who is so misunderstood
Took all these precious lives for good
And when you’re left to cope
All you have left is hope.
By: Morgan Lazarus
We struggle to face the fact that a gunshot can cause a wound to the heart, to a race, and to the pace at which life moves.
We struggle to stop the moments that our brothers and sisters cry and bleed together, but we pray do not die together.
We struggle to reconcile with the fact that our nation is not defiant to those who weaken it.
We struggle to survive under this predicament.
We ask ourselves,
And we struggle on the day when the children weep.
And we struggle to see the days where guns do not have victims,
Where we won’t light candles at a vigil,
But will light a fire of hope,
of bravery to a
A nation comprised of states who could be as one.
To stop the shootings and stop the fighting,
And to the people who wish pain on us all,
G-d please send them help,
So our world and all people won’t feel the pain.
By: Miri Jonas
39 times the police came to his home
A troubled boy, waiting to explode
He bought a legal gun at age 18
And used it to murder 17.
A holocaust on Valentine’s Day,
Real hearts broken, pierced by bullets, not by cupid’s bow
Dripping blood from hearts not made of paper and doilies.
This time it is enough.
We are at the limit of what we can endure.
It is not the numbers that tell the story
Rather, it is the pain on the faces
Those who lost friends
Those who beg for gun control
And say, as we say on Yom HaShoa, never again.
By: Evie Gutlove
“Buzz, buzz, buzz” Another alarm, another day
“Crunch, crunch, crunch” A rush of food, I can’t delay
“Beep, beep, beep” Hoping to catch the bus on time
“Ding, dong, ding” The first bell has surely chimed
“Scratch, scratch, scratch” Wanting to finish this long test
“Chew, chew, chew” Finally lunch where I can rest
“Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle” Last class of the hour
“Tap, tap, tap” The teacher’s mood is very sour
“Bang, bang, bang” Is that a gun I hear?
“Pow, pow, pow” Yes, it is. It's very clear
“Drop, drop, drop” We all cover our heads
“Breath, breath, breath” We hope tonight we’ll see our beds
“Woo, woo, woo” The sirens seem so close
“Go, go, go” We get up from where we froze.
“Honey. honey, honey” The parents are outside
“Why, why, why?” They say my friends have died
“Woosh, woosh, woosh” As I stare at the sky
It’s silence I wish for on this day that’s gone by
School Shooting: A Tragedy
By: Rami Berman
Sounds of horror are heard throughout the school,
Gunshots are heard everywhere,
Chaos in the building,
People are running everywhere.
Blood is seen every time you open your eyes,
Frightened parents awaiting their children and praying to God,
Heartbreaking news sent many into mourning.
One man ended the lives of many,
Years of happiness came to an end for some,
Amazingly some were spared.
This tragedy united our country as one.
Oh, What a tragedy it was.
By: Tzivia Itzkowitz
Ripples flow through every vein
Trying too hard to refrain
Eyes tied to a heavy chain
Over there, one slipped from the pain
The ground holds the bodies and the shame.
Sight of Death
By: Ben Greenbaum
Lying in a hospital
I saw a black crow swoop in
A light started to shine
And then it all went dim.
By: Michal White
It’s dark in here. The nervous giggles and tears fill the silence of the blackness. There’s a ringing in my ears, a quiet in the shadows, as I curl up in the
corner out of view of the door. The window blinds are pulled closed. Today is a sunny day, but its brightness, its warmth, must be hidden from us, or else it would be able to see inside.
A bang is heard.
I curl tighter in on myself, but most of the other kids jump and cry out. The teacher shushes them, trying to stay calm and serious, but I see his
hands trembling as he crosses his arms and stands taller. A toy soldier protecting us from the monster in our closet. A sweet notion, but useless, because what good is a human shield against a flying bullet?
Tears sneak out from my eyes, and drop onto my bare arms. They are covered in goosebumps, and my hair is standing on end. I feel like the
shadows in the room will swallow me whole. People are in ones or twos, some alone, some holding a friend. I am alone. It makes this whole thing so much worse.
The fear within the room is palpable. The knowledge that a person, a monster, could walk through that door, in all its shadowy glory, and kill the
people in my class. The people I have known since we were children. The knowledge that I have gone through four years of high school, but may never graduate. The knowledge that I haven’t done everything I’ve wanted in life, that I’ve wasted many incredible opportunities for the safety of my bed and a book. I’m scared.
Sirens wail. I hear them through the ringing in my ears, but they seem so far away.
Then three more shots in quick succession.
The girl to my right lets out a muffled sob. She’s curled into herself tighter than I am. No one is around her. They are all texting, or hugging, or
crying. She looks forgotten, embraced by the shadows. I pull my arms out from under my head, and reach out a shaking hand. Her shoulder is warm when I place my palm there. Her sobs become more prominent, and a jolt runs through my heart. I scoot closer to her, my shoes squeak on the ugly beige tiled floors, and I wince. The sound seems so loud, that I pause, wait a couple of heartbeats, and then continue. The girl’s long golden hair is in beautiful ringlets. She is always so pretty, every day. She would always come into school looking dauntless in her mismatched vintage clothes, and I would admire her from afar. She is so comfortable in her skin, so incredibly confident, and I am so not. Yet, here we are, the confident girl crying, and me, the invisible quiet one comforting her.
I wrap my cold arms around her from behind. Her hair tickles my nose, so I brush it to the side. A tear of her’s slips onto my arm, and a calm washes
over me. My panic subsides in place of comforting a comrade. Nothing is more important than making her feel just a little more safe. Nothing is more important than giving her just a little bit of human contact, a little warmth in the cold darkness of this moment. But this moment is no longer only darkness, because as another shot goes off, a small light builds. No, the classroom lights are not turned on, and the shades are still drawn down. This light is hidden within my embrace. A comfort of two acquaintances. Two girls who have barely spoken to each other, never truly knew each other before this horrific moment. A shuddering sigh whooshes out through my chapped lips. My warm breath blows against her neck, and she shudders.
Something undeniably warm and soft touches my shoulder. I turn my head to the left, and look up. Another girl is standing there, her lips pursed,
eyes shining with tears. She crouches down and wraps her arms around me and the girl. She leans her head against my shoulder and whispers a quiet, “Thank you.” I don’t understand what she means, and before I can ask, another girl comes up on my right, and joins the embrace. Soon every girl has moved over to our little shadowed corner, and add to the tiny light. It’s nothing bright, mainly girls who have barely talked to each other taking comfort in this moment of need. But it is special, and it is beautiful, and it pushes back those unholy shadows threatening to engulf us all.
The sirens wail loudly, and our arms all tighten as car doors slam as more shots ring out.
A voice comes over the loudspeaker, telling us “It’s over,” and “You are safe to go.” But we do not get up, we do not leave. We all just huddle
closer, tighten our embrace, and force that light to shine brighter. Because we recognize that the second we let go, the second we push up from the floor, grab our bags with shaky hands, and wobble out of this building on unstable legs like newborn fawns, the light will be engulfed once more by the darkness. The knowledge that someone we know, or someone we have never had the opportunity to meet, could be lying somewhere, alone, the heat of their body dissipating in the chill of death.
So, we stay here, soak in the warmth, and cry.