In a week, the 2017-2018 school year for RHS will conclude. A year’s worth of sports, clubs, and studies will finally be put to rest, and as the high school closes its doors and prepares for next year, with a radically changed schedule because of an influx of new students, we will spend the summer with the annual recurring freedom that we’ve yearned for. Rising freshmen will brace themselves for the hectic, and undeniably stressful, experience that high school offers. Seniors will move onto college, beginning a new chapter and paving a new future.
But for 26 students, most of whom were in the wrong place at the wrong time, the same cannot be said for them.
From Parkland to Santa Fe, teenagers just like us have been slain. Not because of foreign terrorists or war, but because of legally bought and owned guns. One thing that 2018 has shown to be glaringly obvious to us is the fact that there is a problem. Attribute this problem to what you’d like: lax gun control, mental illnesses, the presence of violence in movies and media – the list goes on and on. But this article is not here for that.
Most Bergen County schools, RHS included, are different from other schools in the nation. By living in Ridgewood, a town with an incredibly high socioeconomic status, and New Jersey, a state with the strictest gun laws in the nation, we exist in a bubble that appears exempt from these tragic events. Those security policies that RHS continues to implement, such as not opening outside doors for others? Most students would say they seem unnecessary – because only a marginal percentage of the 1,700+ students that attend this school truly believe that something like a shooting will ever happen on our Maroon campus. Sure, you can never be too safe; but what’s the point of being too safe from a problem that can never reach us?
This bubble that we live in is not too different from another kind of bubble: a financial bubble. One that grows as the value of an asset exceeds what it is truly worth, because investors are misguidedly overconfident in it. In that regard, it follows that we might be overly misguided in our views of the safety of our town and state. Maybe we should follow those security policies that are occasionally mentioned in the morning announcements. Because it’s the only surefire way to prevent headlines of a Ridgewood High School shooting.
Then again, if we follow the logic that you can be never be too safe, then that means it really isn’t a surefire way.
With America’s current political climate, this issue won’t change for a while. For Santa Fe, everything changed in an hour. Those students were getting ready for the final bell of the school year. What was on their mind was probably the upcoming long, relaxing, summer days – not a possible massacre undertaken by a fellow student.
For Ridgewood, we really don’t have much to worry about – aside from finals. It’s true we can never be too safe; but it’s also true that our bubble of higher taxes and liberal gun control laws is nonetheless something we can take true solace in, for the fact that we are truly safer than most other kids in the nation.
Of course, whether or not that is something to take solace in, is up for debate.
Graphics: Amelia Chen