By The Leonid Editorial Board
We are sick of writing about school shootings
We are sick of reading about school shootings. We are sick of reading victims’ names, seeing their smiling faces on the television screen and hearing about how their young lives were cut short too soon.
We are sick of the humanization of shooters. We are sick of “broken child” headlines about mass murderers. We are sick of hearing what all went wrong, while no one is trying to make those wrongs right.
We are sick of sending “thoughts and prayers” to families who have had a large chunk of themselves ripped away. We are sick of our government, the officials that have been elected for us, doing nothing to prevent another student from having to stare down another barrel of a gun.
This is not strictly a gun issue, nor is it strictly a mental health issue. It is, however, an American issue.
America stands alone on many things, and the most distressing is our stance on guns, particularly assault weapons.
The bottom line is that there is no reason whatsoever as to why a civilian should need to own a gun that can fire anywhere between 40 and 150 rounds a minute. There is no reason why a 19-year-old who is the poster child for mental health issues and warning signs should’ve been able to walk into a store and walk out with that powerful of a gun on the same day.
That same 19-year-old was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the killing and wounding of 34 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day of this year.
In 2012, 20 six- and seven-year-olds were killed when a man shot his way into their school in Newtown, Connecticut.
In 1998, 12 high school students were murdered by two classmates who then killed themselves at Columbine.
America has a problem on its hands, and it’s not that schools don’t have high enough security. It is not that teachers are unarmed and underprepared in the case of an attack. It is not that children are desensitized to violence, it is not that our generation is so used to getting what it wants that we cause a mass shooting every time something doesn’t go our way.
The problem is that an 18-year-old is mature enough to buy a gun but not mature enough to legally drink alcohol. The problem is that the types of guns sold at somewhere as mundane as Walmart - a store that has thousands of locations across the country - are capable of firing at such high velocities that once the bullets enter the body, they can ricochet off bones and even exit the body in one spot and re-enter in another.
The problem is that schools are not equipped to handle mentally ill students. The problem is large class sizes. The problem is little access to school psychologists and counselors.
The problem is that, overall, 75% of Americans polled by NPR on Feb. 28, 2018, agreed that gun laws should be more strict, but our federal government is more concerned that someone’s right to own a gun might be infringed upon by someone else’s right to live.
The problem is that this is such a big problem and nothing is being done about it.
Something can be done, though, and it will be done. We are the generation that was taught to fight for what we want, and what we want is to feel safe in our schools.
So we will protest. We will march. We will make our voices heard, and, when the time comes, we will cram the voting booths to ensure that our future is not one where kindergarten students watch their teacher die trying to protect them.
We are sick of writing about school shootings. And we are going to do something about it.
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