David Spain, MD, Chief of Trauma at Stanford Health Care teaching 17-year-old Sequoia High School student Alex Rojo how to stop bleeds on mannequin

I was teaching in a public high school classroom the day that two heavily armed students walked into Columbine High School in Colorado and shot 36 people, killing 15 of them. My students and I watched in horror as aerial news footage showed blood-splattered students fleeing the building. I looked around at the 15 and 16-year-olds under my supervision, watching a piece of their innocence shatter.

The thought of preparing for such terror ourselves didn't cross our minds, though. It was a terrible tragedy, but it was a fluke. A one-off. An anomaly.

Then came Red Lake, Virginia Tech, Marysville, Umpqua, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Santa Fe, and more.

"School shootings" have become a thing—a distinctly American phenomenon. After every single one, the U.S. has exploded into debates over guns and rights and what should be done. And after every single one—even after 20 six- and seven-year-olds were shot to death in their classrooms—federal gun legislation has never gotten off the ground.

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The adults have had their chance. Now it's time to hear directly from kids about school shootings.

After the 18th confirmed school shooting in 2018, it can be hard to find new ways to confront how the previously unthinkable has become a regular part of our lives.

Lawmakers in Congress were already speaking of a "sense of resignation" following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on Feb. 14, after recent massacres like that in Las Vegas failed to generate legislative action.

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From Watergrate to world wars, revered journalist Dan Rather has seen a lot of injustice in his day.

Still, certain senseless tragedies can strike a nerve. Wednesday saw one of those tragedies.

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images.

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