The World We Live In

Authors Cover Letter: My name is Kelsey Lehmen, I am a sophomore at Lindenwood University. I wrote “The World We Live In” about the tragedies that keep occurring too close to our homes way too often. This is something that I believe in strongly and it hits too close to home.


The atmosphere in the room was off, it is apparent that everyone is sullen by the recurring, traumatic events that are happening closer and closer to home. Today there was another lockdown resulting in another group of students who are traumatized from here on out. Children that will be scared to walk through those halls tomorrow. The same very halls that they have walked through this whole school year and possibly years before. Teachers that have taught for many years and never felt the terror that they’ve felt today and will continue to feel all the days that follow. Teachers who just graduated from college and decided that they felt that they belonged in a classroom, only to feel that maybe they chose the wrong career and that they cannot handle the task at hand. This is the world we live in.

I heard stories about the schools and what they have to experience. Students not sure if this was a joke, students hiding in the corner only comforted by their fingers typing to their parents saying that they love them. The following day- the belongings that were left behind. The notebooks scattered across desks and the floor. The gym coaches baseball bat aimlessly rolling on the floor having just been dropped and forgotten. The locked classroom doors that are afraid to unlock. Horrified of what is hiding in the dark. The small space in the corner filled with the reminder of twenty hushed bodies scared yet prepared to fight for their lives if need be. Teachers breaking down in their classroom just before the first bell rings, hoping and praying that today will be different than the previous. This is the world we live in.

I was working in an elementary school when I saw that there was another threat. My heart dropped, my mind was racing and trying to make sense of the news I had just received. “Again?” was all I could ask myself. There was a loud noise, someone dropping a chair or something and I was prepared to leap to action. The stapler in my hand became my weapon and my body jumped, preparing to push these small children behind me. Why is this the world we live in?

I feel the tension all around me, seeping through every emotion that I let free. Not much can get past those walls but this lights some fire inside me. Is this what I have to think of and fear for the rest of my life? The not knowing and uncertainty that will fill each day. Will I shake and rattle with every loud noise? Will all teachers and students and school families? Will we forever be poisoned by the people that want to do nothing but cause harm? Is this always going to be the world we live in?

We are constantly plagued with sickness and politics, living in a dividing world that refuses to address the real and raw problems. The triggers that every student and teacher and parent will have to ignore every day as they watch the people they love trudge through those halls wondering if this will always and forever be the world that we live in.

Is this the world we created? They say that it takes four casualties to be considered a “mass” shooting. Why isn’t one life enough? It causes mass destruction to the living, the people that have to go on. I have experienced more death in the past year than I ever have in my life and it never seems to come to an end. Is this the world that we want to continue living in? Do we want to continue to share tragedies and relate to people all over the world who have endured these horrible, despicable events?

My mom remembers Columbine. She says she remembers it vividly. She remembers the day and how it was supposed to be a day like any other. She remembers the fear of realizing that one day, she will have to send her child into a school and not be able to stop the cruel, dark world from coming in.

So what can we do? Can we ban guns? Can we enforce them? Should we create an environment that resembles a prison and force our innocent happy children to live in fear of the pain and horrifying events that we have seen or endured? What will this fix? Is it even possible to fix the world we live in?

Events like this shake a community. I can send all of my prayers and thoughts to a community but how long until God’s mailbox gets full? How long until the prayers stop working and the world becomes dark? It makes me wonder if God makes house calls. Does he personally visit each grieving family individually to give his condolences much like people do at wakes and funerals, even similar to the President making an appearance at the press conferences to give condolences. Or is there a harsher reality that God may not exist and these grieving families have to endure this pain alone for the rest of their life. What kind of world is that?

One day, later down the road, I hope that there will be some serious thinking going into the world we live in. Clearly DIVIDE and conquer isn’t working anymore. We need to focus on the big pictures that are in front of us. People say that children are our future but what kind of future do we have if this is the present life that children are exposed to? We can create as many laws and build as many prison-like schools but what will that do to the creative minds that are at work? Will we only be deferring them to a world of chaos and mass destruction? Or will we be saving their lives? And if so, at what cost? I understand that this has become my own personal rant for not gratification, but my own, but I am scared. Teachers are scared. Children are scared. We should all be scared of the world we live in.