From Venezuela to the U.S., Violence Casts a Long Shadow

A daily routine like going to class is becoming harder and scarier for the younger generation in this country. Young people are being shaped by an environment that has become more stressful and painful than enjoyable and rich. This year in the U.S., there have been more mass shootings than days itself.

I was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, one of the most dangerous cities in the world. It’s a place where violence is experienced daily in everyone’s life, or at least to someone related to you. Over the past few years the wave of emigration from Venezuela has been abrupt due to high rates of violence and crime, mixed with political problems that have deteriorated the quality of life in every way possible — and even violated the human rights of most Venezuelans.


“I left my country in pursuit of a better quality of life; I looked at the U.S as the best option for my education. I find it frustrating to feel that this main goal is threatened by these incidents that happen daily, all around the country.”

All these problems have increased in scale for 20 years now, until the point where they became too hard to live with. The repercussions of violence in society can result in more severe consequences to the community. In Venezuela there turned out to be more complex problems than just gun violence, but things escalated to a point that violence wasn’t just the main problem, it was the root of all of them.

I left my country in pursuit of a better quality of life; I looked at the U.S as the best option for my education. I find it frustrating to feel that this main goal is threatened by these incidents that happen daily, all around the country.

Violence is considered to be harmful to even those not directly impacted, due to the negative stimulus that causes on people. I was surprised to see how, like in my country, the younger generation in the U.S. is exposed to this kind of violence. It bothers me to see how the system lacks the will to address this issue, especially since it concerns the safety of our children.

Unfortunately the chances of being prepared for these violent situations are slim, since it occurs in the blink of an eye. I used to think that this issue was just thing from movies, but throughout the years here I realized it was real and even increasingly prevalent. Dealing with this fact made me realize that coming to the US didn’t guarantee my safety 100 percent, however here the actions taken have significantly more repercussions on society than back home.

Lately, media channels have shown the implementation of armed police on school grounds. It’s depressing how parents must have to deal with the fact that security, carrying guns, would be present inside their child’s classroom. Growing up, nobody wants to feel their school has the same guards as a jail; children wouldn’t understand the magnitude of the situation.

For most people, this would sound just crazy but due to recent events, it’s impossible to deny that these measures meet the level of urgency that this matter requires. It might be drastic, but it is necessary to assure the welfare of every student, teacher and staff member at schools — institutions that play the most important daily role in a young person’s growth and preparation.

People involved in education contribute to a better generation, which means a more prosperous future. I couldn’t imagine doing this while feeling my life is threatened by just going to work. Sowing a seed of fear in people will also have collateral effects, jeopardizing the development of future generations.

I’m glad to see some teenagers in the U.S. are starting to act on this problem and have launched the “Never Again” movement to promote better gun control. They are addressing their opinions through the media in righteous ways, such as organizing the “March for Our Lives,” which consists of a nationwide protest to end gun violence.

I don’t really like to talk about such controversial and delicate topics, but I thought it was important to spread consciousness and make people aware of this matter. I invite readers to spread the word and help the young people secure their future and well being.

Because it’s difficult to help my native country from here, I would like to help — in any possible way — the community that received me and gave me so many opportunities. Let’s help this younger generation to have a childhood worth remembering.

Mario Salge Mata is an economics junior at San Diego State. He is an international student from Venezuela.

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