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The Power to Choose This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     When someone flips a coin, it will land on either heads or tails. With other real-life experiences, however, the possibilities are boundless and the end results are not set in stone. A new job can bring a person more wealth or more stress. A teenager can choose to take drugs that someone offers or decline. A death can bring a family closer together or further apart. The shootings at Virginia Tech were a terrible event, but instead of allowing this horrific massacre to bring us together, many are using it as a launching pad for even more violence.

The day after the shootings I went to YouTube to watch news about the incident. I was disgusted to see that countless people had made racist comments about the shooter, a South Korean man. There is no doubt that what he did was terrible, but it puzzled me that instead of expressing remorse for the victims and their families, many were joking about their wish that “Asians could drive as well as they shoot.” Why does everything have to be about race?

As the daughter of a Yemeni father, I have experienced the effect of 9/11 on the Arab community firsthand. After the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, many people automatically saw anyone who wears a turban or hijab as a terrorist. They chose to focus on the ethnic background of the culprit rather than what we can do to better the situation. Many believe that it is the race of the shooter, car-jacker, robber, or suicide bomber that compels him to commit a crime. Your race has nothing to do with how smart you are, what you can make of your life, your personal flaws, or your mistakes, so why do we act like this is the case? Does it really matter that the Virginia Tech shooter was South Korean?

Today there seems to be a race among the races. When something bad happens, people of all ethnic groups rush to bash the race of the wrongdoer. The results of a tragedy, like the shootings at Virginia Tech, cannot be reversed, but we should strive to make the best of the situation. America has come under attack, but why do we have to continually attack each other?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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Tomboy said...
May 12, 2010 at 10:27 am:
awesome i agree.  theres been way to many wars and fights over whether ur skin in pale, dark, tan, or anything
 
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BethaniThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
May 1, 2010 at 1:50 pm:
I completely agree with you! 
 
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