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It was only around five minutes, but it felt like hours.

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A day supposed to be full of love will forever have the opposite meaning for me. Fourth period. We hear a pop and kids start sprinting and screaming. I was in the auditorium, surrounded by people crying and calling their parents. I was frantically texting all my friends to see if they were O. Not having them respond was the scariest, heart-wrenching feeling in the world. An hour and a half later, SWAT came in—weapons drawn and heads on a swivel. We were put in a line and told to keep our hands raised high and visible.

We ran. The entire time, all I could think about was the other people around me.


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It was then that it hit me. Some of my friends were hurt. Some of my friends were still missing, and there was nothing I could do. They could be dead. Everyone in my AP English Literature class had written sonnets for their mothers, which we presented in class. Carmen Schentrup admitted that she had already showed the poem to her mother—almost like a farewell that she had foreseen.

After class, I walked with her halfway to her next class, which unknowingly became her place of death later that day. Ten minutes before dismissal, the fire alarm rang for the second time that day.

I Was Almost A School Shooter - Aaron Stark - TEDxBoulder

My classmates all wore the same confused expression as I did as we walked out. But then, our confusion became panic when we realized that this was very real and was not the active shooter drill that we had been anticipating. We heard every shot echoing across the campus. We were ushered back into our classrooms and we huddled together, scared and worried for the safety of our friends, for another two and a half hours. Rumors started spreading like wildfire that Carmen was among those who had been shot and was left in the building as other students were evacuated. Family members and classmates held onto the little hope that perhaps she had been sent to the hospital and was in surgery, recovering, but just unidentified.

Parents waited at the Marriott Hotel to hear the fate of their child. I texted both Carmen and Joaquin, but little did we know that we were waiting for responses that would never come. After 11 agonizing hours, it was confirmed at 2 a. Gun control has always been debated, but ultimately fails because of the voices of the people being drowned out by politicians, interest groups and money.

This time it is different.

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We are not letting our voices be pushed aside because it is enough. That is just not right. Something really important to stress is that we have all talked about the effects of gun violence before. Unfortunately, it took a tragedy to happen at our school for the nation to hear what my classmates have to say. We are kids. We are angry, and we are not going to stop. Balancing school, homework, yearbook, sports, and now political activism will be hard, but for something this important, I will always make time for it.

Since the shooting, I have felt unbelievably helpless. Yet, in that moment, standing with these strangers, I felt strong. I was not just a child without a voice. I was part of something bigger. I was one of the many people in that crowd—one of the many voices warning all of our representatives that if they did not give us what we wanted, they will be jobless come midterm elections.

They fear us.

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Together, we are a force to be reckoned with. We are all Eagles. If you stand with us, you are an Eagle. And when eagles dig their talons into something, they do not let up. I promised myself I would fight for the fallen victims and their families. I promised to protest not only for them, but also for the victims of future mass shootings.

All I knew was that I wanted to help in any way I could. All I knew was that everything we do will add up. Every voice. Every rally. Every vote. But that only meant having the same breakfast cereal. I remember the first time I went to visit Lauren in America. I brought dollars in one-dollar bills, in order to make it look like a lot of money. And in fact this was a lot of money for us in those days. Did they let you into the country with only that amount?

John Ratcliff, who owned the Rendezvous Studios when a-ha were camping there, remembers those years like this:— I was a successful musician, but gave up everything in order to make a-ha happen. Everyone else had rejected them. I found them, got them off of the street, and they were all my life until they made their big hit. All the fans know that Hunting High and Low was my baby. Thanks to me, Norway — who almost always received zero points in the Eurovision Song Contest — got a place on the world map of music. Instead, the papers portrayed me as a terrible person, Ratcliff complains. On their way to success, things had gone wrong in the relationship between Ratcliff and a-ha, and not least between himself and the man he had invited in to help manage the band, the mighty Terry Slater.


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  • Norway had its first, and so far only, No. After this, things moved very rapidly for a-ha. After a while, John Ratcliff took everything to his home.

    Pope John Paul I

    Stenersen is about to meet in London on this June day in For several weeks they have been e-mailing each other about the swap they are going to make. Stenersen has already transferred a deposit. The banknotes in his pocket, in addition to an earlier bank transfer, fulfill his part of the deal: Almost a quarter of a million Norwegian crowns. An eight-track tape recorder. Books filled with handwritten song texts, sketches for possible songs, drawings and notes. Most of them belong to Paul Waaktaar-Savoy, who hardly ever formulated an idea in his mind without committing it to paper.

    Stenersen and Christopher Hopkins put the books and papers into the empty suitcase, and carry the reels and the tape recorder between them. They drive kilometers northwards, to Manchester, and stop at the studios of the Manchester School of Sound Recording. Andy Popplewell is waiting for them. He used to work for the BBC but is now an expert on transferring sound from old sources. Stenersen and Hopkins want to secure the recordings for all posterity, as fast as possible.

    The next day, P. Stenersen flies home carrying the rest of the catch in his hand baggage. The risk of sending it in a suitcase is too great. A few days later he hands over the personal belongings to manager Harald Wiik — 26 years after they were abandoned in London. Waaktaar-Savoy smiles as he shows us a page from his diary — he beleieves he wrote it after finishing high school, when he worked a few months for the public tram company, Sporveien, in Oslo. And in an almost prophetic lyric on the page dated December 7th , Paul Waaktaar-Savoy writes:. They know it. In the event that failed, we had an additional plan.

    The reserve plan was The States. The band was always thinking ahead and because of that none of them gave a moments thought to the things they left behind in the Rendezvous Studios, until many years later. He tidied up a lot of things, and he was good at tidying. Some things are gone for ever, says Waaktaar-Savoy, who is happy that he got so much back. Ratcliff says he was the one who discovered the brilliance of a-ha. But remember that I had spent enormous sums of money on lawyers in relation to the rights.

    They had a whole bunch of lawyers. I told them I could save the album. They gave me a few weeks but made it clear that the a-ha must be kept out of the process while I finished the job. That was difficult, because I had always been honest with the boys. Everything was at stake: would they make a career, or would they be on the first boat back to Norway?

    Some of the things I did are still unknown to the boys. I had 18 days to make the record acceptable to Warner, and I think it was a success, if you consider the sales figures! No release schedule is announced. This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase.

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