Kenneth Borycz ‘18: Sutherland Springs, Las Vegas, Parkland, and countless other communities rocked with gun violence this past year, yet the question of what needs to be done remains. With social media recently blowing up, pleading for a change of the guns laws, people from all demographics and political idealizations are agreeing that there needs to be change.
Following the latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida, people took to social media, but the feeling was different this time: they took this event as a slap in the face and a lot more personal.
In the past, it was always the shooter that took the heat. However, this time, the National Rifle Association (NRA), President Trump and countless other Republican officials are in the spotlight. Demanding the attention of politicians, citizens are calling for change. In fact, some even proposed a rewrite or even deletion of the second amendment.
To me, that’s a little absurd. Our constitution, finalized in 1787, and roughly four years later, ten amendments was created so we, as Americans, can have rights that cannot be taken away. This includes the second amendment, some might say that it was written for the 1700’s which is true and a valid argument. But why not see that the second amendment is a blessing in any case of tyrannical leadership our country tries to bestow on us. We would have weapons to defend yourself when a government that becomes unjust tries to take away our freedoms.
First off, after the shooting in Florida happened, President Trump called for Secretary of State, Jeff Sessions, to push a bill for stricter background checks, the banning of bump stocks, which is a possible purchases for an AR-15 to make it basically fully automatic to get around gun laws prohibiting the purchases of a fully automatic gun, and arming teachers.
I am all for these ideas. While not being used in Florida, a bump stock was used in Las Vegas which killed 57 people and injured over 500. Adding stricter background checks will add another level of security when buying a weapon. In October, a church was under attack in Texas. A dishonorably discharged man from the United States Air Force was the shooter. Laws prohibit the sale of guns to dishonorably discharged members of the military. The stricter background checks will also dive deeper in to searching for possible mental disorders the individual has.
Background checks would help weed out potential threats and mental illnesses from the individual and any possible criminal convictions.
Throughout this whole situation I believe the biggest controversy is should we arm teachers? As the son of an emotionally impaired teacher, I hear stories daily on how these kids in elementary school do horrible things. I think the fact of the matter needs to be we need to arm trained professionals at every school, in the last 50 years less than two percent of the mass public shootings were at a place where it is acceptable to carry a weapon and this is why a school should be no different. If it is ended up to the teachers who carry I think it should only be the ones that volunteer and get the proper training and mental evaluations to make sure they’re capable of carrying a weapon along with them.
No matter what happens in the coming months with the possible gun control laws we all need to do a few things. Hold on to your loved ones a little tighter because you do not know when it will be your last day, speak up if something doesn’t seem right or is bothering you and finally think and pray for the families who will never be able to see their loved ones again. We need to see its probably not a gun thing its a social thing that can easily be changed with a smile or a genuine conversation.
To the victims our thoughts and prayers are still with you.
Kayla Yax ‘18: Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. Condolences aren’t enough. Empathy isn’t enough, not anymore. Not when the kids of our nation are being attacked and killed simply for going to school. Not when parents are losing their children, and kids watch their friends and classmates die right in front of them. It’s become a vicious cycle, a reality that we’re living in, Where yet another school shooting isn’t shocking. Where the nation can see 19 school shootings within two months and nothing changes, except for where it happened and how many people had to die for no reason. Guns keep falling into the hands of those who only want to spill blood on school floors and no one can seem to agree on a way to prevent gun violence. When are we going to accept responsibility and start to acknowledge the fact that our system is not working anymore?
Students all across the country are calling for the ban of assault-style weapons and stricter gun control laws to be put in place, following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. On February 14, 17 students were left dead after a former Stoneman Douglas student fired an AR-15 as they entered the halls. No one could have expected that no one could have prepared for that to happen. How do you prepare for something like that to happen?
Not one of those 17 people woke up thinking that it was their last day alive. They didn’t walk out of the door of their homes thinking that would be the last time they’d see their family. They didn’t get to go to college. They didn’t get to grow up. They didn’t get to make mistakes or experience what life has to offer. They didn’t get a future.
The survivors of the shooting will never see those halls the same way again. They will never be the same. I can’t imagine the fear, the anger, the sadness that they must be experiencing after witnessing something so violent, and so heinous. But how did this happen? It’s a question that many of us thought as we watched in horror, as we read the names of the victims and looked at their pictures.
Nineteen year old, Nikolas Cruz, legally obtained an AR-15. A military-style, semi-automatic rifle capable of firing dozens of rounds a minute. This is not the first time this weapon was used in a mass shooting, for the shooter of Sandy Hook Elementary school, the Las Vegas shooter, and the Orlando nightclub shooter all used the same weapon. Even though the most recent and deadliest mass shootings have been carried out with this rifle, it can still be legally obtained by anyone over the age of 18 after following the routine steps in getting a firearm. According to www.nytimes.com, a federal ban of rifles considered to be assault weapons which included the AR-15 took effect in 1994 but expired in 2004.
Gun control continues to be one of the most controversial topics in the nation, especially after a mass shooting like in Parkland, Florida. Advocates of gun control have demanded action from lawmakers to enact stricter laws in fear of the safety for us as a nation, but time and time again these calls go left unheard and despite the effort to make a real change, the nation forgets and moves on. According to www.vox.com since Sandy Hook there have been over 1,600 mass shooting, killing more than 1,800 people dead and wounding more than 6,400 but still, we have yet to see real action against gun violence.
This time feels different though, this time it is different.
Stoneman Douglas students like Emma Gonzalez have been making their voices heard, demanding action from Congress to enact stricter gun laws. Survivors from Stoneman Douglas High School have been rallying and protesting against gun violence, using social media platforms as well as the national news to call out the inaction in the government as well as locally. The students have organized the National School Walkout on March 14, which calls for students all across the country to walk out of school for 17 minutes, one for each victim of the shooting. In addition, the March for Our Lives on March 24, where advocates for gun control plan to march on Washington DC.
According to www.independent.co.uk, Florida state legislators passed a bill raising the age to purchase a firearm to 21, with a three day waiting period as well as banning the use of bump stocks which modify the rifle allowing it to shoot faster. This bill doesn’t ban military-style assault rifles, which is what many have strongly advocated for, but it’s somewhere to start.
The survivors of Stoneman Douglas are inspiring actual change all over the country, they are fighting for a future where gun violence won’t be a normal occurrence. Where people don’t have to fear for their lives at school, or the movies, at a nightclub, or a concert. This can’t keep happening, enough is enough.