I’m done fearing life. I’m done fearing normal, everyday activities. I’m done fearing going to school every day, thinking that it could be my last. I’m done saying goodbye to my parents as if it will be my final day of seeing them. I’m done being scared when I see a person I don’t know on my school campus. I’m done with politicians caring more about money and keeping their guns than the lives of innocent people.
I recently realised how little the government cares about safety after the recent Parkland shooting. The shooter who committed this atrocity was expelled from school because of his violent, dangerous behaviour. He had told a classmate how he wanted to buy and use a gun. He posted on social media about guns and how he wanted to kill people. His mother called the police countless times because of her son’s violent and abusive behaviour. The police did nothing. Calls were even made to the FBI. Nothing happened. Somehow this obviously violent man was allowed to buy a gun legally. He was able to pass background checks. The law enforcement people who dealt with him felt it ‘wasn’t necessary’ to put him under the Baker Act. Why did nobody do anything?
The shooter killed 17 people in total, injuring 17 others, and scarring the rest of the survivors for life. 14 of the killed were students, and the other 3 were teachers who died saving other students. I don’t want to name the shooter, because that is giving him what he wants. Attention. Instead I would like to list the names of the deceased, and their ages. These are the students: Alyssa Alhadeff, 14; Martin Duque Anquiano, 14; Nicholas Dworet, 17; Jaime Guttenberg, 14; Luke Hoyer, 15; Cara Loughran, 14; Gina Montalto, 14; Joaquin Oliver, 17; Alaina Petty, 14; Meadow Pollack, 18; Helena Ramsay, 17; Alex Schachter, 14; Carmen Schentrup, 16; Peter Wang, 15. All of these wonderful teenagers lives were cut much too short. They all had futures ahead of them, amazing things they would have done. Their futures were destroyed because a violent, mentally-ill man was allowed to purchase a gun. There would have been more casualties if not for the deceased teachers that sacrificed their own lives to save the students that they loved. The teachers were Scott Beigel, 35, Aaron Feis, 37, and Chris Hixon, 49. Not to mention the countless other victims who had to witness their friends and classmates being killed, whose children were killed.
People said things like, “There is nothing anyone could have done to stop this,” which mostly comes out of the mouths of politicians who care more about keeping their precious guns than their precious children. It someone in the police force had taken the shooter’s mother’s calls of abuse seriously, and filed it, maybe the shooter wouldn’t have been able to buy an AR-15. No normal civilian should be allowed to own and AR-15. This type of gun and many others are made only for the purpose of killing people. They aren’t meant to be sold to people this easily. People say it’s because he was mentally ill, not because of the guns. It was both. It was because the guns sold to people shouldn’t be available. It was because nobody took the complaints of the people around the shooter seriously. It was because a gun was put in the hands of a violent person, who should have been committed as soon as the domestic violence calls came in. It shouldn’t have taken the murders of 17 people for them to realize that the shooter was violent.
There are countless deaths from guns every year in the US. Even if you ignore the mass shootings, the school shootings, and the murders. There are still thousands of deaths from suicides and accidental shootings. We shouldn’t have to hear about a new mass shooting every month. We shouldn’t forget the amount of lives lost in the past from guns. Every day in the US, 7 children are killed with guns. 13000 people are killed in an average year with guns. Black men are 13 times more likely to be shot and killed than white men. On an average day, 96 people are killed with guns. Since 2009, 848 people have been killed in mass shootings, and 339 have been injured. 54% of mass shootings were related to domestic violence. 42% of mass shooters show warning signs before the act. And still, people continue to say it’s not because of guns.
On March 24, 2018, March for Our Lives was held. I joined the march in Seattle, where it was announced that March 24 would officially be Seattle’s ‘We Won’t Be Next’ day. It was amazing to see the amount of people that left school all across the country. We are the next generation of powerful people, and we will take your guns away. Hopefully, some people’s minds were changed after witnessing the selfishness of the government during Parkland. Hopefully the march inspired people to stand up for our right to be safe in our schools. Our country needs to follow in the footsteps of other, safer countries, by making gun laws the strictest they possibly can be, or even better, getting rid of guns altogether.
The people in this country need to stand up for the lives of ourselves, our children, our friends, and our family. That means getting rid of the guns that have ruined so many beautiful lives. That means remembering the effects that these weapons have, and never forgetting the victims. I encourage anybody who agrees to stand up for what you know is right. Whether that be through public speaking, writing essays or stories, marching, singing, drawing, etc. Whatever you can do to speak your mind. It may not seem like it, but your voice is so important. It is important to the parents of victims, friends of victims, or anyone who has been affected by violence. Your voice helps to bring out the other voices, and it helps change the world.