2022 Winner

Seventeen Too

What would I get if I shot three and killed two?

Maybe a cell, twenty years, probably a shot to the head for acting like a fool.


With an AR-15, how would I be met?

I can’t even walk around in a hoodie without being seen as a threat.


Me walking to a protest with an assault rifle, you could only pray that I stay alive,

You see, when you look like me, that’s called suicide.

But even if I made it out, surely the courtroom would be my demise.


Would the judge say the people I killed weren’t victims?

Wouldn’t everyone speak up and contradict him?


I’m seventeen too but no doubt they’d see me as a grown man.

I know they wouldn’t sympathize if I dared to cry on the stand.

If I had pulled the trigger, would strangers send me millions for my defense plan?

I think instead they would see my actions as a capital offense to reprimand.


Would congressmen offer me internships while still on trial?

If I killed two, would I be seen as a hero, like Kyle?

Will there be change or will these stories continue to compile?

Two steps forward and then we seem to go backwards two hundred miles.


Kadari Machen

Gonzaga College High School

Grade: 12


Silver Spring, MD


Columbia, MD

Favorite Author or Book:

Aubrey Graham

Dream for the Future:

To make the world a more loving, honest place.

Inspirational Figure:

My brothers, Jelani and Bijan