Sabika Sheikh: How a Pakistani Exchange Student Lost Her Life to Gun Violence


In 2017, a 17-calendar year-outdated exchange pupil — Sabika Sheikh — from Pakistan landed in Texas for the American substantial college knowledge.

9 months later on, on the early morning of May perhaps 18, 2018, she posted a photograph of an airplane on her social media, captioned ‘How many days right up until June 5? Its 19 days’. She was scheduled to return home 19 times later on, with innumerable stories from the time she used in your nation.

That very same day, she was shot useless.

She was murdered with nine individuals inside of her artwork course at Santa Fe Superior School, 1000’s of miles away from her residence and her people today.

I am her cousin.

I was a Fulbright trade scholar in The united states then and returned with Sabika’s human body to Pakistan. When I arrived back one particular very last time for my remaining graduate calendar year, my only objective was to get a gun basic safety monthly bill launched in her identify in the United States Congress.

In 2019, correct prior to my closing departure from your region, I stood within the U.S. Capitol as that invoice was released.

HR 127, the Sabika Sheikh Firearm Licensing and Registration Act, prescribes a complete licensing procedure for gun and ammunition possession. It involves that a person will have to be at the very least 21 several years aged and go through a felony background examine, psychological analysis, and elaborate teaching on the harmless use and storage of guns in order to be accredited to possess a firearm. It also prohibits the sale of selected substantial-potential ammunition devices.

Wanting again to that second within the Capitol, I laugh at my naiveté. I believed that your legislators would immediately come alongside one another to decisively lower gun violence. It now baffles me how a choice — involving residing and finding murdered, and concerning the liberty to feel risk-free and the chilling horror of hearing the very first gunshot at your university — can be so polarizing in your place.

When a faculty was attacked by the Taliban in Pakistan on December 16, 2014, my state came together. This provided the public, civil culture, and politicians throughout get together traces. Our consensus as a society was unanimous: Defending youngsters at a put as sacred as school was not up for discussion.

I’ve observed legislators in your country are unsuccessful this exam of conscience all over again and again. Do they not notice that when somebody you grew up with is massacred so mercilessly practically nothing can be restored?

I was the relatives member who went to Texas to get Sabika’s overall body and just take it again to Pakistan. Each individual one emotion I felt through individuals moments at the morgue when I appeared at her chilly human body will forever be a haunting reminder of her brutal murder in your state. Do U.S. politicians not know that the memory of that horrifying second by no means results in being distant? That it under no circumstances leaves? That it stares at you with its hollow eyes, carrying almost nothing but gloom and dread? Are they so incapable of sensation that they cannot have an understanding of the overpowering melancholy I experience just about every time I textual content Sabika and wait with a delusional hope that she will reply?


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Natasha M. McKnight

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