Turn the ballot, change our future

Visuals and features editor Isabella Tisdale ’24 explains how gun violence has affected her childhood and how voters can change the narrative for future generations.

Every other November, Iowans walk into the voting booths and have the power to change the trajectory of the future. But when voters turn to the back of the ballot this year, they will see the new proposed amendment for the Iowa constitution. Voting yes to this amendment would make Iowa one of the 3 states recognizing the second amendment with strict scrutiny in their constitution. When strict scrutiny is written in laws, it means the court will most likely strike down any other law that would change or violate the original text. This would eliminate almost any chance of new gun restrictions or regulations being passed in Iowa.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

— Proposed amendment to the Iowa constitution

Every day I walk into school, headphones in, and talk to my friends. Every day, I walk through the halls exclusively in big groups because with everything happening in the country I don’t want to risk it. Every morning we hear NPR in my first-period AP government class, I put in headphones because I can’t bear to listen. The same politicians who decide on these laws don’t live in the world teens do now. They didn’t grow up with a Sandy Hook or a Stoneman Douglas.

When my parents walked me into school on December 15th, 2012, they walked me in more scared than the day before. I heard the news on the radio, “28 dead, 2 injured at Sandy Hook Elementary School”. I act oblivious and to an extent I am, but part of me becomes a little more worried to go to school. I walk into my first-grade classroom, like many did the day before, a little less confident that I will make it through the day.

When I was sitting in sixth-grade social studies class, on Valentine’s day in 2018 spirits were high. When someone snuck their phone and saw it.  The teacher stopped the class and we watched the news. On the smartboard, I saw a school that looked like mine with children with their hands above their heads. Later that night I look at Instagram and see it, “17 dead in Parkland High School shooting”. From then on, I promise myself I will never walk alone in the halls again because I can’t be another statistic. 

So, when Iowans turn over the ballot all I can do is hope. Hope they think about the 12 children a day who die of gun violence in America. All I can do is hope they think about their children’s lives. Hope they think of the 40 school shootings that have happened so far in 2022. I hope that I can one day feel safe at school again. I hope when voters turn the ballot, they change our future and vote no to the addition of this harmful amendment.