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Honoring the fallen through art

NHS junior shows the many faces of school shootings

Eli Maxwell and Gracie Elmer

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    Students who exited gate four in order to participate in the student walkout couldn’t avoid the near 50 foot long mural on their way out. The mural displayed the known names, ages, and pictures of every victim of a school shooting in the United States, starting all the way back in 1840.

    Junior Delaney Amsler created this mural to remember and honor the victims of school shootings.

    “There’s a list online of every school shooting in the United States so I would use that as a frame of reference for my investigation,” Amsler said. “Then I would go through and I would see if I could try to find the victims, and a lot of times you’re not able to. You can find photos of the murderer, but you can’t find anything on the victims. Not even a name.”

    The process for the mural was rigorous according to Amsler, but rewarding.

    “I think that being able to see the names and ages is extremely important,” Amsler said. “It stands out a bit differently when you have to go through the process of learning everything about the victims.”

    Amsler knew the student government wanted to create a poster to remember victims of the Parkland shooting, but she didn’t know if it would fully capture the impact of gun violence.

    “My message with this project is to show the scope of the issue and that school shootings aren’t a one-time thing,” Amsler said. “It’s an addiction that America has and it’s something that we have the opportunity to fix.”

    Amsler hopes that her mural will bring awareness not only to gun violence but to how gun violence has changed over the years.

    “A lot of people don’t have any idea how widespread this issue is,” Amsler said. “Showing the history shows not only respect to the victims, everyone that deserves to be thought about rather than the shooters, but it also brings up the concept of gun violence changing.

    The halfway point of the mural is in the year 2000, which means that half of the school shootings in America have taken place in the last 18 years.

    “You can see how much more gun violence there is now. You think gun violence has always been the same, but it really hasn’t and it’s getting worse,” Amsler said. “The best way to deal with an issue is to always recognize it as an issue and if something gets worse, you have to be able to see that.”

    Protest is the most widespread way to cause change, says Amsler, but there are other ways to make a difference in the community.

    “Students don’t have a lot of power, especially because we can’t vote and we can’t make adults believe us,” Amsler said. “Actively searching out ways to make change is the best course of action for anyone.”

    Amsler wants to see her classmates take a stance on gun violence and speak out.

    “I’m really hoping protests spark up within students, that awareness is spread around, and people can start getting angry,” Amsler said. “I want people to get angry that this is still happening. Anger causes change.”

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Honoring the fallen through art