What You Didn’t Know • Bailee Warber

With over 7 billion people on the planet I cannot get over the fact that with all of these humans there is little humanity. There are bullets shot every single day creating this war zone. They fill the air with a booming sound that makes everyone flinch, and when someone gets shot many people turn their heads to avoid receiving a bullet themselves. Very few stand up to the people with rifles but staring down the barrel of a gun can be frightening.

Today you walked down no man’s land at school before going to class. You shot a rifle that screeched “ugly” to the quiet girl that was trying to avoid the war to begin with. What you didn’t know is that the bags under her eyes and her messy hair is because at home she doesn’t sleep and she doesn’t have time to shower. Her parents work too much and she is the foundation for her four younger siblings that ask, “Where’s mommy? Where’s daddy?” every single night. Instead you picked up the rifle and continued firing at the hollow masks you saw in the hallway for no good reason at all.

Your immature mind could not stop spewing these toxic words. Your chance comes again, and you pulled out your rifle and shot a piercing bullet at the boy and shrieked “faggot,” leaving a haunting echo in the hallway. What you didn’t know is that he gets made fun of enough at home when his dad punches him and tells him to be a man for once, meanwhile his mom looks in the other direction to avoid the war in her own living room. What you didn’t know is that after you shot another bullet that ricocheted “Go kill yourself” he finally had enough.

What you didn’t know is that he mumbled “okay” and picked up the bullet you shot him with. He walked home and after a black eye and a broken rib from his father he locked his bedroom door. There was a wail and then an explosion that shook the house. The bullet shot him in between the eyes and exited the back of his skull and spewed parts of his brain that used to be filled with creativity and passion, but how were you supposed to know, right?

You didn’t know or care that the 15 year old boy with his entire future ahead of him just took his own life to escape your venomous bullets. But you are addicted to making others suffer so you hold your rifle snug in your hand and continue to march around in no man’s land.

Another day of the war begins and you strut down no man’s land with your head high while you spot your next victim. This time you gather your platoon and march towards a freshman girl in the hallway. You pushed her to the ground so hard that it feels like she fell twenty stories down making her heart sink into her chest. You and your mob all take out your rifles, but now they feel like machine guns.

They blast “whore” and “slut” and when you and your friends get tired of her crying, you leave her on the ground. She is now stuck in this trench and struggling to find the willpower to stand back up this time.

What you didn’t know is that her uncle lives with her and her family. Her parents are blind to the problem that happens in the dark every single night when her uncle takes away her dignity and pride. He took away something that every woman deserves to choose when it occurs. But it happened so long ago, and at age five, you are not as strong as a 28-year-old man.

How were you supposed to know that she dreads going home every single night and begs her friends to let her sleep over, but never says a word of the truth because if she did her uncle said he would kill her?

In this war zone everyone sees this fake exoskeleton of appearance that everyone wears. No one knows the truth. So for someone to have the guts to pretend they know everything that everyone is going through, needs a wake up call that screams “If you don’t have anything decent to say, shut your damn mouth.” One day karma will come and hit you hard. Harder than ever before to knock the idiocy out of your immature brain and to open your eyes to see that even though you have a rifle it does not give you the right to shoot at the innocent because of your boredom.

There is one death every 13 minutes in America from suicide. In 2030, depression will be the main cause of death among teenagers, beating cancer, stroke, and car accidents. Every single year 34,000 people take their lives because of toxic words and unfortunately a lot of these words occur within the safety of our schools . More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED. Sticks and stones may break their bones but names will make people hate themselves. This is something that is so important, yet goes unspoken at schools. Do onto others as you would want done onto you.

The action of holding a gun and to damage innocent people is effortless, but it takes extreme amounts of audacity to stand up to the infantries and bring peace. Being a bystander and waving a white flag will give the artillery power to continue dragging on a war of endless suffering. The bullets you see being fired everyday could one day stop so people can roam no man’s land without fear of becoming a victim. However, this cannot happen overnight. Everyone needs to open their eyes to this constant combat instead of turning the other way. Become renegades to this conflict and stand up to the gunman who are creating this unnecessary bloodshed. Be the change you want to see in the world because if you don’t do it, no one else will.