The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, which took place last Wednesday, Feb. 14, has been mentioned in most every news channel, Twitter feed and face-to-face conversation all across the nation. However, many people wish it wasn’t. It’s not because they are too grief stricken to talk about the seventeen people left dead. Rather, it brings up the issue of gun control, which many believe isn’t even an issue to begin with.
The students of Stoneman Douglas have tirelessly argued that gun control is indeed a problem that must be acknowledged. Enter the “they’re just kids” card users, consisting of politicians and run-of-the-mill citizens alike. People on both sides believe that this debate is not one that should be fought by high schoolers. And so, they are quick to try and shut down the outspoken teenagers and sweep the issue under the rug rather than take action themselves.
The age of the protestors is an entirely different matter that could be discussed, but it’s not the one we’re focusing on. What must be recognized is the fact that this issue has too many loose ends to be left unattended. It matters not whether you have a safe full of guns or have never held so much as a Nerf gun before. The time to talk is now. The sooner we realize that, the closer we are to preventing another tragedy.
We need to be talking about gun control because people forget the depth of the aftermath of a mass shooting. We haven’t seen headshots flashing across the television. They are people who have been murdered. We haven’t seen rallies on television. They are crowds of people who have lost their family, friend, classmates and teachers. Too quickly are these images and videos reduced to nothing more than news fillers. What we forget is that someone’s life has been altered from here on out because the person in that photo is no longer around, or they are the person in the photo. We must take into account the human aspect of this matter. The laws that are currently in place are affecting others, and at the moment it’s for the worse. Should that not raise some sort of concern amongst the general public? The real loser of the gun control debate is not a bank account or a political party. It has a face. It wants answers.
We need to talk about gun control because it is our responsibility. In fact, it is the literal, paying job of some citizens to address these issues. Our right to vote, freedom of speech and our freedom of expression enable us to bring about change. This country prides itself in democracy, but it has failed to ask its citizens what needs to be done following every new massacres. We need to have an opinion. We need to raise our voices. We need to demand that lawmakers take our concerns into account. When you’re in charge of the entire country, offering your thoughts and prayers as opposed to your undivided attention is inexcusable and shameful.
We need to talk about gun control because tomorrow still exists. And because every current and future student deserves the right to a safe education, we cannot pretend this issue is going away. There are countless days to come, which means countless opportunities for another school shooting to occur. Changes on gun control laws will affect future generations. To take no action is to assume that every school is currently being kept perfectly safe, which is an ignorant and neglectful assumption.
What’s happening right now is going down in history. It’s up to you whether you want to stay on the sidelines or not. So please, take a moment of your time to educate yourself on the subject matter so you can learn what you want to stand up for. Participate in local discussions or one of the upcoming marches relating to gun violence. And if you are old enough, vote. Support candidates who embody your beliefs on gun control. Contact your current state government officials with the links provided below.
We need to talk about gun control because we’ve lost control. How many more lives is it going to take for our nation to accept that?
Written on behalf of the Network Staff by Madeline Robertson.