A Sad Anniversary

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Just the other day I was reminded that May marks the anniversary of one of the saddest trending tweets in Twitter history. The reminder was a photo posted on Instagram of a girl holding a cardboard sign. The girl looked to be 13 or 14 years old. The sign read: If I die in a school shooting, leave my body on the steps of Congress.

#IfIDieInASchoolShooting was first tweeted a year ago, after 22 school shootings up to that point in 2018. Number 22 happened at Santa Fe High School in Texas on May 18, 2018, just a few months after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, when a gunman killed 17 students and staff members and injured 17 others.

At Santa Fe, 10 people—eight students and two teachers—were fatally shot. Thirteen more were wounded.

As we mark the first anniversary of #IfIDieInASchoolShooting, the “statistics” have climbed. Eight school shootings have taken place on high school or college campuses in 2019 through the month of May. So far.

In a piece on the trending hashtag written by India Pougher for ELLE Magazine four days after the Santa Fe shooting, she wrote, “Students began tweeting…and sharing the things they would miss out on if their lives were taken too soon. The answers range from leaving their loved ones behind to never graduating college and never getting married.”
Here are some of the tweets:

#IfIDieInASchoolShooting:

Prop up my casket in front of the White House — @scottf6f

I want to be buried next to my best friend — @2muchisntenough

Make sure I am the last to do so — @ardenneastonn

Is a sad reality for America — @tiatameraa

Please make school shootings die with me — @madhavids

Don’t release pictures of my smiling face. Release pictures of my bloody dead corpse to show what school shootings really are. Politicize my death — @hmc823

I’ll never get to publish my book, celebrate my sweet 16, get married, or see my children grow to be wonderful people — @casforachange

Then my parents would have outlived their only child — @estef4change

Protect my little sister so she can stop “learning to hide from the bad guy” — @robinisme16

My 8 younger siblings will have to grow up without their oldest sister, i’ll never graduate high school or college, i’ll never get to work in dc like i’ve wanted to since i was young, i’ll never get to create change — @jaxonomara

My dogs would be left wondering why I never came home. My internet friends would be clueless. I wouldn’t achieve my dream. If I die in a school-shooting the government won’t do anything to prevent another — @TAKENBYDEMA

I will never become a nurse and fulfill my dream of helping children, teenagers, and young adults. My passion for wanting to save lives will die with me — @beachwonders

One adult saved me the trouble of writing a conclusion, when he tweeted:

If I Die In A School Shooting is the saddest hashtag I’ve ever read — @StevenBeschloss

Andrew Malekoff is the executive director of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, which provides comprehensive mental health services for children from birth through 24 and their families. To find out more, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org or call 516-626-1971.

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