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One Shot At Life

By , South Barrington, IL
Guns. Do they exist to protect us or harm us? The second amendment in our constitution gives every citizen of the United States of America the right to bear arms yet some citizens take this right for granted. While our founding fathers presented us with this right with the intention of giving us more protection in our lives, some irresponsible, mentally disturbed people have misused it. When guns end up in the wrong hands, calamities can occur. Shootings that occurred in Virginia Tech, the movie theater in Colorado, and Sandy Hook Elementary School all represent the occurrence of disastrous events due to the misuse of guns by abnormal citizens. Many lives changed forever because of these incidents; some lost a brother, a sister, a mother, a father, or a friend all because certain individuals lost their sanity.
Over the years the amount of deadly shootings in public places have increased including seven in the past year itself and thirty-two since 2005 (Kessler). On April 16, 2007, thirty-two people were shot and killed at Virginia Tech campus in Virginia. On July 20, 2012, twelve people were shot in a movie theater in Colorado. On December 14, 2012, twenty-six people were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut. These three incidents together took the lives of seventy innocent individuals while leaving many witnesses, family members, their respective communities, and even the whole country traumatized and shocked.
For many of these victims and witnesses, it started off as just another day but little did they know that their lives would never remain the same again. This occurred to Kaitlin Roig, a first grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, who first handedly witnessed the horrific chaos that occurred at this school. Teaching her class, Roig, heard what she describes as a loud ricochet at approximately 9:30 AM. Roig, startled by the sound, hurriedly steered her students into the class bathroom and held the door shut with a storage unit (“Huffington Post”). Legs shaking, palms sweating, she refused to open the door even to the cops fearing that the gunman stood behind the door (“Huffington Post”). To comfort her students, the bold teacher told them she loved them very much and that everything would be all right. However, this did not relieve the students’ anxieties. They just wanted to go home and have Christmas (“Huffington Post”). Roig struggled to hold her tears back. At this point, she knew that she had to stay strong for her kids. This first grade teacher probably does not realize this but she is now considered a true hero. Without a hesitation, she thought about what was best for her students’ safety. Her students, their families, and the whole Sandy Hook community salute her for her actions.
Despite these unfortunate events, the government has made little progress in establishing stricter gun control laws. Congress has not passed a major firearm-related law since 1994, which many people blame as the root of the cause (Brandus). Every time a shooting massacre occurs, the public stays restless and adamant about stricter gun control rules but as time goes by, the people move on and forget about it. It becomes archived in our memories as just another shooting. However, to families and friends directly affected by these incidents, the tragic deaths of their loved ones will constantly cast a shadow over their lives. To prevent this cycle of mourning and anger from repeating itself, many people are pushing for change in firearm regulations. Just recently, University of Maryland School of Public Health led a march in order to bring attention to the need for better gun control laws (Thornton). During the silent march, tears streamed down the students’ faces as they remembered the lives of all the innocent victims from Sandy Hook Elementary and also their own fellow colleagues who passed away just last week near UMD campus because of a handgun (Williams). This call for action had increased awareness around campus and even prompted legislators in Annapolis to search for a resolution.
The great prominent leader, Mahatma Gandhi, once said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow”. Many of us overlook this statement in our everyday lives, but certain incidents that we occasionally encounter, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Virginia Tech massacre or the Colorado Batman shooting, open our eyes and remind us of its significance. It is very imperative to remember that life can change for better or for worse in a blink of an eye. It is impossible to prepare yourself for these drastic changes and extremely difficult to understand why they occur but nevertheless, we need to acknowledge them and take preventive measures. Although better gun control laws have yet to fully develop, hopefully the cries from the families and friends of the victims can ignite a change in Capitol Hill.



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