The following article was written from the heart during a recent class at The Intuitive Writing Project. TIWP and The Intuitive Voice want to know how young people are feeling about the epidemic of mass shootings that are occurring across the country, but most significantly, in their schools. Please share your thoughts with us by commenting below or on our contact page. We would love to hear from you.

By Sofia Ruiz, Intuitive Writing Project student

What does it mean to be free? To hold six people’s deaths in one hand. The right to walk around with six heartbeats pulsating in a metal cartridge. If having a gun is having freedom, what does that mean for those who do not?

If a gun is held to the heads of six different children, and six different mothers all scream when they see their baby’s body in the morgue, is that freedom? What kind of liberty can a father have sending a child off to college after hearing of 20 different shootings and envisioning their child’s face plastered under every victim’s name?

Does the liberty to carry a gun immediately equal glory? Does the gun make the man? Does the number of bullets show his strength?

What if instead of guns we have letters to send to the families of hypothetical victims apologizing for a shattered bone, or a ruptured lung or for all their broken hearts? Would that be any more freeing?

Of course a gun does not equal death in the same way a seed does not equal life, but if enough seeds are spread throughout a garden, some weeds will grow. And to a gardener one weed is one too many.

So please pause a moment and instead of telling people that the reason that a mass shooting was able to occur was because the victims did not have guns, gun laws are too strict, and such a disastrous massacre could have been avoided… Look a six-year-old boy in the eyes, cowering behind a chair, praying though he does not know a God, that his parents will come save him and take him home to give him warm soup while they all settle down to watch cartoons. Or you can hand him a gun and tell him to defend himself.

Give everyone in a crowded movie theater a pistol because a man plagued with mental illness might attempt to make his mark with your life.

Oh revel in the freedom seen in a dead girl’s eyes, in her parents’ tears, in a murderer’s heart.

Ask yourself if this is freedom.

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