School of Thought: Tragedy reminds us what’s important

The recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., was a horrific tragedy. Twenty innocent children and six adults went to school that Friday expecting a day like any other. Sadly, they all lost their lives in the shooting massacre that morning, and their families, friends, neighbors, and an entire nation feel an enormous loss.

The tragic event that took place on Friday, Dec. 14, was an eye-opening experience for me, a junior attending John Jay High School, a mere 30 minutes from Newtown. In the past, like most students, I have never thought much of the lockdown drills that each Katonah-Lewisboro school is required to complete routinely during the year.

But since that Friday’s incident at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I have a new perspective on these drills, and I am prepared to take them much more seriously. Many security measures were introduced after 9/11. I was only a kindergartner then, so these practices have been commonplace for me. Now I am older and more aware of the possibility of danger every day. It seems obvious now why we have emergency drills, but before last week, I never really believed anything bad could happen nearby.

I am certain that the close proximity of Newtown to my home is what has really made an impression on me. If such an unspeakable massacre could occur at a suburban elementary school so close, who is to say it couldn’t happen in our bucolic community, too? It is a question that I think most everyone at John Jay has thought. While it is unhealthy and unproductive to go about every day in fear, we are reminded to take extra precaution and always be aware of our surroundings.

Life is a precious gift that ended all too soon for the 26 people of the Sandy Hook massacre. A tragedy like this is yet another sad reminder to live every day to the fullest and make sure to tell your loved ones how you feel.

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