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The Barrel of a Gun

Matt Westerhold • Mar 23, 2010 at 6:27 PM

"My pen is the barrel of the gun..." These are the words of Pete Wentz, my favorite lyricist. It's like the modern version of the quote "The pen is mightier than the sword," spoken by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839. But the simple eight words in "The Pros and Cons of Breathing by Fall Out Boy" say so much.

They touch me and give me power. Like many before me, I want to change the world. I want to make a difference. But how can I do this? I'm only 15 years old. How can I, a person who can't even drive yet, change this world in which we live? I can use the barrel of my gun.

I was given an opportunity many young writers that share my dream would love to have. Last month, I got to meet a man named Matt Westerhold. Along with being a wonderful and exquisite writer himself, Matt is the editor of the Sandusky Register. He told me he loved my writing and I should keep it up. I remember smiling at the words of encouragement and feeling very proud to have such a noted journalist complimenting my writing. Within the next week I found out Mr. Westerhold apparently wanted me to help inspire my fellow peers and community. He gave me the opportunity to voice my thoughts and ideas on the online version of the newspaper.

It was dream come true for any writer. But everything seemed too good to be true. I held my breath for the next couple weeks while my teacher, Dr. Marlene Boas (who made it possible for me to meet Mr. Westerhold in the first place) called and tried to reach Matt many times. Eventually he called back. That's when the explosion went off in the pit of my stomach. It was my turn. I was getting a chance to change the world and I couldn't have been more excited!

There were doubts forming in my mind. I was ready to take on the world and help make a difference. But was it worth what it might cost me? Could I take the ridicule and persecution of my fellow peers who would look at me with disdain in their eyes? Look at me, their fellow teen, as the enemy? Was I ready for that? Since I had met Mr. Westerhold, I had been reading his blog on sanduskyregister.com, and I saw how some members of the community shamelessly attacked him, his life, and his writing. Could I do the same thing? Put myself out there to be slaughtered by words? Sacrifice my reputation in school and open the doors to undying snickering while my back is turned?

Close to running back home with my tail between my legs, I remembered something my best friend told me once. He told me that you could never get everyone to like you, no matter what you did; you could never please everyone. I believe that he's right. It doesn't matter if people spit at you as you walk down the street. What matters is, at the end of the day, I know my family and friends love me, I know that I'm making this world a better place, if only slowly, and I know who I am inside. I know I can do this. I want to make a difference, and I can. I can take whatever anyone throws at me, because I know I have the barrel of my gun.

So here I am. I'm ready to change the world. Slowly if necessary. I'm ready to help the adult readers understand what it's like to be 15 in the new millennium. I'm ready to help make the connection between adults and the youth of today stronger. I believe that we all have to work together to change our community for the better, but we can't do that if the adults and youth can't communicate. I've said it many times before, and I have a strong feeling that I will be saying it a lot in the future, "To change tomorrow, we have to have the vision today." I hope that this blog will not only be informative for the readers, but entertaining as well. I'm swinging in the dark on this, and I'm hoping I don't hit a brick wall. Only time will tell.

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