A little bit before 3 p.m. on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018 a fire alarm went off at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Shortly after, a student heard six gunshots. This would be the beginning of yet another school shooting in American history. One of at least 17 others in 2018, according to Everytown for Gun Safety.
Gun violence in America is nothing new. That sick feeling we’re all getting right now in the pits of our stomachs, the one that’s creeping up through our throats and resting in our hearts is not unfamiliar. It’s become an all too fucking common sensation we’ll experience every few months or so as new reports of yet another mass shooting are released, be it at an elementary school or a country concert. And, unfortunately, I doubt Parkland will be the last of 2018.
After these senseless and horrific tragedies happen, we try and make sense of what happened. We’ll share our condolences on social media, we’ll cry, but mostly we’ll ask, Why?
Why would this happen?
The United States is the only country in the world where we see these sorts of atrocities. We’re also a country with an avid 2nd amendment fanbase and home to the NRA. We’re also a country whose lawmakers do nothing after these massacres even though they tweet “Thoughts and prayers.”
Those are clearly not enough.
How many more of these massacres do we have to see before it’s finally enough, America? We need stricter gun laws, and we need them right fucking now.
There is literally no reason for civilians to have access to semi-automatic weapons. There is literally no reason why hair dye should be more regulated than a handgun. There is literally no reason that at least 17 people have been killed at a high school in Florida other than our lawmakers’ inaction.
And I know all the arguments against gun control. I know it’s our 2nd amendment right as Americans to bear arms. I know that many believe criminals will ~find a way~ and that there are “too many” guns in circulation already. We’ve heard it all and you know what?
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
It’s time to do something different because clearly what we’re doing (read: not doing) isn’t working. There are a number of laws and strategies that can be put in place that can help prevent this sort of violence from happening.
We can enforce stricter background checks. Under federal law currently, background checks are only required for sales made by licensed dealers. Background checks are not required at gun shows or purchases made from strangers online.
We can try a gun buyback system as seen in Australia, a move which led to no more mass shootings and a reduction in gun violence.
We can establish regulation on magazine capacity. Large capacity ammunition magazines are a common denominator in high-profile mass shootings in the United States. This allows assailants to fire at large numbers of people without having to take the time to reload, an ability that leads to more casualties.
I am deeply aware the issue of gun violence in America is a complicated one. Based on the gun culture we see in the United States, current laws, the influence of the NRA, etc., making the changes we are in such dire need of will take time, work, and a whole lot of trial and error. But we need to try.
We need to try anything.
We owe it to the victims and their families. We owe it to this great country.
This morning we mourn the victims of Parkland, Florida. We administer our thoughts and prayers, but this time we also prepare to take action. Be sure to contact your senators and representatives. Join organizations that are fighting to stop gun violence, such as Everytown, Brady Campaign, and Americans For Responsible Solutions. Use your voice and don’t be afraid to speak up.
It’s time to hold our lawmakers accountable. We need to stop putting politicians in power who do not care about the very people they are representing. Enough is enough. Let’s make this country safer for everyone with stricter gun laws. Because I’m so sick of watching history repeat itself.