Never Again

HANNAH WILLIAMS / Editor-In-Chief

In Blacksburg, Virginia on April 16, 2007, 33 students and faculty were killed at Virginia Tech. February 14, 2008 in DeKlab, Illinois, six were killed and 21 injured at Northern Illinois University. June 5, 2011 in Omaha, Nebraska, 2 were killed and 2 were injured at Millard South High School. In Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012, 26 people were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school. June 1, 2016 in Los Angeles, California, 2 were killed at UCLA. January 23, 2018 in Benton, Kentucky, two were killed and 17 injured  at Marshall County High School.. February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida, 17 were killed and 14 injured at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

According to Washington Post, since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999, there have been more than 188 school shootings in the United States. More than 200 students have been killed, and at least 200 more have been injured. How many more lives are we expected to lose before we take action?

The United States is suffering from a gun-violence epidemic, one that has been spilling into schools. It was not enough when 26 people were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary school. Or when 49 people died at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Or when 58 country music fans were shot and killed in Las Vegas, Nevada. So when is it enough?

The Academy for Critical Incident Analysis collected data on school violence around the world. Between 2000 and 2010, 57 incidents were recorded in 36 countries. Half of those incidents, approximately 28, occurred in the United States.  Certainly, the United States is not the only country struggling with school violence, but it is the only country with so many guns, and the only one where violence against students is almost routine.

The Florida massacre is now among the deadliest school shootings in US history, and has yet again sparked debate about US gun laws and control. Some survivors of the shooting attended a Gun show in Miami with the idea to further protect themselves, while others protested at a rally in Fort Lauderdale to promote stricter gun laws. During the protest, high school student Emma Gonzalez took the podium and attacked the US president and other politicians for accepting political donations from the National Rifle Association.

In response, the President and many other politicians have blamed the shooter’s mental health, avoiding the real problem: Gun Control. Many held signs that read “Never Again” to call out the US government to take action to prevent future violence. Here we find ourselves still not solving the problem at hand, because we’re too split on opinions about gun laws more than focused on the safety of others to actually accomplish anything.

With the prevailing outburst of gun control supporters every time there is a mass public shooting, they call for more background checks, claiming it would have made the Florida shooting avoidable, when in reality the flaws of this act would do no such thing. The checks have millions of “false positives,” resulting in weapons landing in the wrong hands. Many do not understand how quickly magazines can be changed or how easy they are to make.

All the while, gun control advocates ignore what their opponents suggest: abolishing gun-free zones. The mass shootings that occurred in Florida, such as the Orlando nightclub, the Fort Lauderdale Airport, and Majory Stoneman Douglas High School were places where guns are banned. According to Fox News, over 98 percent of mass shootings attacks since 1950 have been gun- free zones.

We can clearly see our country is at a loss of what to do, the continuation of the bickering between the two sides has proven not to solve anything, and lives will continue to be lost if we do not take action. Both sides, whether they support gun restrictions or not, are refusing the types of policies that could save lives based on their relentless opinions about gun laws. They are claiming that others “have blood on their hands,” when in reality it is them whose hands are stained, because they would rather fight to ‘be right’ rather than save innocent lives.

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