March 20, 2018

I Never Expected to be a Part of the List

By Keaton Conner

Heath High School, West Paducah, Kentucky. December 1, 1997. Three students killed, five wounded.


Westside Middle School, Craighead County, Arkansas. March 24, 1998. Four students and one teacher killed, ten wounded.


Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado. April 20, 1999. Twelve students and one teacher killed, twenty-one wounded.


Red Lake Senior High School, Red Lake, Minnesota. March 21, 2005. Five students and two teachers and staff killed, seven wounded.


West Nickel Mines Amish School, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. October 2, 2006. Five students killed, five wounded.


Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut. December 14, 2012. Twenty students and six teachers, administrators, and staff killed, two wounded.


Marysville Pilchuck High School, Marysville, Washington. October 24, 2014. Four students killed, one wounded.


Marshall County High School, Marshall County, Kentucky. January 23, 2018. Two students killed, eighteen wounded.


Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida. February 14, 2018. Fourteen students and three teachers and staff killed, seventeen wounded.


My name is Keaton Conner, and I am a proud student of Marshall County High School. I never expected to be a part of the list I just read, but now that I am, I refuse to remain silent.


I refuse to be silent, because I am forced to remember the gut-wrenching cries of a boy begging me to tell him I had seen his sister alive.


I refuse to be silent, because I am forced to remember the cold look on the face of the troubled soul who shot at my friends and killed two of my classmates.


I refuse to be silent, because I am forced to remember, every second of every day, the empty feeling that filled my stomach as I realized that I might never again hug my family.


I refuse to be silent, because children should be thankful to have an education, not thankful to make it home alive from one.


I refuse to be silent, because children should be thankful to have an education, not thankful to make it home alive from one.


Kentucky General Assembly, Governor Matt Bevin, Senators Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, United States Congress, President Donald Trump: What do our lives mean to you?


This is not a mental health issue. This is not a security issue. This is not a gun issue. This is all of the above.


I demand increased funding and training for mental health treatment. I demand security measures in our schools. I demand a ban on assault rifles and large capacity magazines, or any other weapon created for the sole purpose of taking human lives.


In the wake of of the Parkland shooting, a quote from psychologist Thomas Cash circulated on social media: “When my child hits another child with a stick, I don’t blame the stick, but I still take the stick away.”


It’s time to take the stick away. To those who oppose gun control: is there really anything worth more than my life or our children’s lives?


As a student, I refuse to be silent until I know this will never happen again.

These remarks were deliverd at the March For Our Lives Kentucky Rally organized by the Student Voice Team on the steps of the capitol in Frankfort on March 20, 2018.

Keaton Conner

Keaton Conner

Keaton is a former member of KSVT. She graduated from Marshall County High School in 2019 and is a student at the University of Kentucky.