The Firefighter Christopher Santora Educational Scholarship Fund Website

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Shupti Biswas:
2013 Winner
P.S. 122

Shupti Biswas

Winning Essay

The sound of silence—something that so many people regret, something that brings uneasiness to the mind, and a sign which tries to pull society toward a better future. Yet, this same sound of silence can be the result of our mistakes. It is partly from our mistakes that hope, love, courage, determination, and bright futures were lost in the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Consequently, it is our duty as a nation, to come together to make concrete solutions to end tragedies such as the one that the unlucky six and seven- year- olds had to face. Such misfortunes are too convoluted thus making it necessary to make a change. We cannot leave this particular situation alone like it never happened. In fact, we must take many steps so that we do not hear silence anymore, so that the silence that we did hear does not continue on in vain, and so that the children in Newtown did not sacrifice their lives for no reason.

The “right to bear arms”, an amendment which has forever developed a tradition in America, is a natural right that many citizens in America have prioritized to keep. The reason for such an amendment to be enacted in the first place was to give citizens the ability to protect themselves. However, when this right is taken to whole new levels under circumstances in which the rest of society have a possibility of being harmed, the whole meaning behind “the right to bear arms”, protecting American citizens, is lost. Thus, there is no doubt that there be limits to how people can protect themselves. Gun control legislations should draw a line on the certain types of weapons people can use. Only military guns should be kept under the control of the military, for why would people at homes need such destructive weapons to protect themselves? Between 1914 and 2004, the Federal Assaults Weapons Ban, limited the types of guns that could be used by all people. Studies showed that after this law was enacted, some areas had as much as a 72% reduction in the crimes related to assault weapons. Further studies showed that after the legislation expired, mass shooting rates doubled. From such statistics, it becomes obvious that once restrictions relating to assault weapons are set, crimes rates lessen.

Strict legislation results in better security against gun violence, thus it should be mandatory that criminal background checks be made before any weapons are sold to customers. Background checks will ensure the safety of the nation by denying any people who will potentially do harm towards school children and, or adults from having the privilege to own weapons. Based on the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Connecticut is among the six states that require back ground checks. It should be considered that the lack of background checks may results in higher crime rates. Based on these checks, weapons will be kept under control from there harmful. Locally, stricter regulations, especially one which includes people to have the right to report someone who potentially poses harms to the rest of the community. This law was passed in 1999 but should again be renewed so that crime rates reduce.

There should also be restrictions on what types of weapons factories produce. For instance, the production and selling of high capacity magazines should be banned. The high capacity magazines should only be kept under the control of the military, for such tools can destroy a whole population within minutes! Adam Lanza, the shooter at Newtown, had high capacity magazines in which 26 people were killed within minutes. He could have potentially killed the entire school if he wanted to, for he went inside that school with hundreds and hundreds of bullets under his control. Weapons that are designed for the military should not be in the hands of everyday strangers. This otherwise increase the chances of violence and death. Lenient laws in the current government reduce the reasonableness in society and a lack of rational increases the amount of bloodshed people will have to endure in the future.

The little window that was opened to us by the tragedy at Newtown Connecticut provides the whole country an opportunity to learn from its mistakes. With anticipation, society hopes all the sacrifices the teachers had to make not die without knowing that society did in fact improve. Society did change the way people wanted it to change for the better. With hope, we wish the images of six year old and seven year old bodies not remind us only of the tragic ending of the story. Hopefully, from all the improvements that our nation has the capability to make ends the story at Newtown, so that the teachers and children that passed away are proud—proud for the new revolution they led.



My name is Shupti Biswas. I am 14 years old. I live in Queens. I have an amazing family that always supports me and never lets me down. My parents are always there for me. Without them, I’d be nowhere. My brother, Shuvagata, and my sister, Gloria, are always encouraging. I will definitely cherish my grandmother close to my heart. She understands me as much as my mother does. With all the blessings from my parents and my grandmother I am where I am today.

I will be graduating from PS122Q this June. I will miss many of my friends and teachers. I will be going to Stuyvesant High School and even though I am really nervous and excited, I will never stop to strive to get where I want to be when I grow up. My parents came as immigrants from Bangladesh so my brother, sister, and I are the first generation Americans. I want to become somebody that my parents could not be because of a lack of opportunities. Since I was little, my parents and I have shared this dream of me becoming a pediatrician because I enjoy helping children.

Since I was six years old, singing was a big hobby for me. I have been taking Indian classical and folk singing lessons. While I sing, I play the harmonium, which is the most commonly used instrument in Indian and Bengali music. My brother plays the tabla, which is a set of Indian drums. Years of taking lessons have allowed me to figure out tunes on the harmonium by myself which is fun. I perform with many of my other friends at the temple. As a child, I also took Indian classical dance lessons. I was a vegetarian for two years and it was really exciting. I come from a Hindu family so celebrating many festive holidays is a big part of my culture. In general, my friends would describe me as a committing girl. Listening to music, crafting, shopping, watching movies, playing sports, and of course spending time with my family relax me. I love watching comedy and drama movies such as The Last Song. I really enjoy watching Indian dramas also. My closest friends know that I can be silly during my free time. Other times I am usually quiet and serious with my work. My favorite color is definitely blue. I enjoy spending a lot of my time out in nature more than in the city. I have visited many places including Washington D.C., Albany, and India.

My favorite subject in school is English. Because of my amazing English teacher, who I will undoubtedly miss when I go to high school, I have grown as a writer. She is like a supportive and inspiring mother at school.

Most importantly, I am honored to be one of the winners for the Christopher Santora Scholarship Fund. I thank my friends, teachers, and most importantly my family for always being supportive, loving, and compassionate.


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