Thoughts and Prayers / by Hannah Harley

I've lived through the five worst mass shootings in the United States. I've seen each one of them unfold. I've mourned with the nation, I've heard the thoughts and prayers from politicians. I've seen their feeble and fumbled speeches in aftermath. Saying "never again", but never taking the action to make it happen. 

Before the Parkland shooting, I made these collages. I didn't know that a few hours later, children would be dying in their school because of this inaction. These images are screenshots of the mouths of presidents saying "thoughts and prayers" or "prayers" or "praying" while giving condolences following these mass shootings. 

I'm tired. We all are. We're tired of seeing lives ripped apart. Tired of crying on the subway reading texts from children to their parents while they're shaking in a closet at their school. Tired of seeing the same formula play out. Tired of watching guns be used to eliminate a generation. 

The United States leads the world in gun-related deaths. We cannot accept thoughts and prayers to keep us safe. We need to make changes. I'm not a policy maker, I don't have all the answers. I want to be a part of a solution to making it so none of our children fear for their life just by going to school.