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On the Recent Teen Killings: Silenced and Never at Peace

Today, we live in a world where barely any second consideration will be granted to us.
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Undoubtedly, you've seen it everywhere now. Posts on social media trying to find teenagers that have gone missing, only for those posts to soon be replaced by news of their deaths. Testimony after testimony, mothers crying over coffins, the constant shout for justice, the lingering fear and hesitation to trust your surroundings and the people there. For most people reading this, it's not like anything you have ever become witness to before. But for some of the people in this country, this brings back a time that was traumatizing and instilled terror in many. We are in that dark time yet again, and not doing anything about it is part of the problem.

I will be honest with you, I lived a sheltered life. By sheltered, I mean I was rarely, if ever, exposed to the many realities of life when I was a child. As I grew older though, I discovered those truths but I still cannot say that I was aware of most of the stories behind them. I couldn't blame my family though, I knew and understood that they wanted to keep me safe. What parent would let their child see all the chaos of this world? For the longest time, all I knew was in our home, I was safe. In our community, I was safe. I can walk the streets and not feel any immediate fear of anything.

But you see, none of us really are safe anymore. We may be virtually untraceable or we may not even have any connection to the incessant war against drugs, and we will still be found and tried. Even the streets around our home cannot be seen as completely safe. There was a time when people's sides were heard, people were given time to defend themselves, but that time is past us now. Those teenagers who were shot, stabbed, or killed in other ways didn't deserve any of that. There they are, tortured and their light snuffed out too easily, while nobody makes any true amends to those who are affected. Those teenagers were only living their lives, only to be interrupted and silenced forever.

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One more thing I have been for most of my life is silent. Silent in the sense that if I have an idea or an opinion that contradicted people who were higher than me, I would not say it out loud. I was like that for almost all of my ideas, from my viewpoint on certain leaders in the government to laws to discrimination. I sat and listened to people babble on and on, never letting my voice be heard since I knew I could be punished for it, ridiculed even. The opposing ideas confused me, and I constantly had the feeling that I was wrong, that I should think more like they do. I soon realized that their opinions were too influenced by the people they think are right, by plans and promises that they never considered the consequences of. For many of the people I have met and been exposed to, you should be on the side with more power. Power means safety, it's an assurance that you can sleep at night soundly without thinking too much about danger. The more you have, the more secure you are.

I will not do that now. We cannot afford to just sit and watch as everything unfolds. Fear can paralyze people, yes, but it should also be what drives us to get rid of what we fear. Fighting back isn't always appealing since it can lead to people getting suspicious about us or it may lead to questions and debates. We cannot always win against the side that continues to abuse and kill, but we are still voices to be heard.

I have been told again and again that to keep alive, I have to keep quiet. But I don't want quiet anymore.

I want to scream about how none of this is fair, how people with prominent names and positions are given a chance to explain, how others have their names engraved on gravestones far too early. I want to keep telling people that we can make a difference, even the slightest dent if we work together. I want to have the supporters of this see what it has done to us. I want to yell at the people who think that any of this is still justifiable. They say this is a war against drugs but it is a war against the citizens of this country, and what chance do we have if we are fighting ourselves?

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Yes, I am scared. Terrified, even. At any time, that could be me, that could be someone I know, that could be someone's loved one.

Yes, I am risking a lot even in writing this. This is against so many of the rules my family and my community has set. But enough is enough. No more of the killings without proper questioning. No more child bodies found in places far from home. No more lying awake at night thinking about how I might even go anywhere and not be questioned. No more. We should not wait around to see half our country wiped out. We can change this if we stop ignoring the news because it pains us. That pain should wake every heart out there that still cares. We should care about the people here, because these are our people, and they deserve more than an unlawful death. We deserve more than a country with little regard for the people living in it. We deserve security and assurance that we will not be killed in the name of this war.

What are your thoughts on the recent killings?

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Cyna Soriano
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