The Christian Science Monitor

After mass shootings, students hope to change sense of siege to surge in activism

As he has watched the aftermath of school shootings this year – including a massacre Friday in Santa Fe, Texas – Carson Collins has felt the pressure to grieve and move on. But that impulse, he told his dad, has been countered by an even stronger urge to not let go.

In December, a 21-year-old former student walked into Aztec High School in New Mexico with a gun. Carson, a senior, was one of those locked in a classroom, ready along with his fellow students to charge the shooter in the hallway right outside. Instead, the man killed himself after killing two students.

Reacting to an effort at Aztec High to help students heal by cheering them up, Carson told his dad: “When you think about it, it’s like you get punched in the gut ... and then they tell you to smile. I’m not prepared to smile.”

That sense of siege is being felt across the country as the school year draws to a somber close. “Everyone’s just talking about, ‘I hope we

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