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Students protest government's inaction to gun control.

Students protest government's inaction to gun control.

Sydney C Swanson

Sydney C Swanson

Students protest government's inaction to gun control.

Cale Barnes, Contributor

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Several days ago, my sister was asking if she would be able to be part of the school walk out on March 14th to call for more gun control. She is in sixth grade.

I wrote an article last fall entitled “The Problems We Ignore” that was about the problems in society and how we let them go. How we contribute sometimes without even noticing, or trying.

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the site of the Florida shooting where 17 students died, were forced or willingly stepped into the spotlight, speaking out against the widespread use of guns.

My generation, our generation, is more politically active than ever. We do this for preservation. Preservation of our voices, our lives, our homes, our friends, our country, our planet. Preservation of our future.

And it is not okay.

High school is strenuous enough at this age, but we also have to worry about the president of our country -someone who is regarded as respectable, mature, and level headed- meeting shooting survivors and then having a party at his golf course not too long after. We have to worry about people showing up at our school in the middle of the day and opening fire, and if we survive, we have to worry about the fight after to make sure this does not happen ever again. But it will.

My mother, upon hearing about the Parkland shooting, said “When I heard about Sandy Hook I thought that would be enough, six and seven year olds dying. But it wasn’t. And it’s still happening.” I want to ask, what is enough? What’s the magic number that the body count has to hit for this to end? For things to change?

I want to be clear that when I say this. I am not attacking Trump. I am not attacking guns and saying they should be banned outright. Certain ones, machine guns and guns such as the AR-15 for example, should be banned under federal law. The AR-15 was used in 12 mass shootings since 2007, and yet it is still on the market. I applaud Trump for his plan on banning bump stocks, something that allowed semi-automatic rifles, once again such as the AR-15, to be fired at speeds near a machine gun, yet still not considered fully automatic.

One of the largest arguments against gun control is that it is a matter of mental health or violent video games rather than guns. In terms of video games, the UK hasn’t had a school shooting since 1996. In the same country, Call of Duty: WW2 topped the charts for most popular video game on all platforms on November fourth, 2017. When it comes to mental health, 1 in 4 people from the U.K. report having a mental illness. 1 in 5 report the same from the United States. The largest difference between the two and supposed reasons for shootings is that after the school shooting in 1996 they banned all handguns and confiscated the firearms already in circulation. Since then, there’s been hardly any mass shootings and the murder rate has fallen.

This country is a great one, but it’s slipping. It’s slipping into complacency and denial. We need to fix it, it won’t be long before we can even pretend to be the greatest country in the world. It won’t be long before there aren’t kids still going to school to say the pledge of allegiance.

4 Comments

4 Responses to “Too Young”

  1. Tyler Sanzottea on March 14th, 2018 9:56 am

    The walk out is today the march is the 24th. Machine guns are banned by federal law. To get automatic weapons you have to get a multiple month process to get the license. AR-15 are not automatic weapons. AR mean armor lite after the company that popularized it. Handguns have killed more people lat year than AR-15 have since they were first made. Cars kill more people a year than guns yet cars are not getting the same attention as guns or wanting ti be banned. AR-a5’s fire the same speed as a normal gun of the same caliber. I do agree with the mental illness part but do not use as a way to cover all mental illness. Mental illness in most reports include ADHD and other non-violent mental illnesses. A good way to stop school shootings is to give ex veterans and former cops that are teaching to bring in a firearm to protect students. Examples would Mr. Pruitt, Mr. Place, and Mike Love. I am willing to have a civilized discussion about guns and gun control and so are others.

  2. Cale Barnes on March 22nd, 2018 3:51 pm

    First off, thank you for reading my article. Secondly, I had the facts confused about the march for our lives and the school walkout. The walkout is the fourteenth, the march is the twenty-fourth. I’ve gone back and fixed the mistake. As to assault rifles taking a multi-month process, that isn’t in all states. In Florida, once again referencing the Parkland shooting, Nikolas Cruz did not require any sort of waiting period before buying his gun. If there was a nationwide waiting period, that would be a great step forward. I never said that the AR-15 was automatic, only semi-automatic. I’m aware that AR means Armalite rather than an assault rifle. However, it doesn’t change the function of the gun. It doesn’t matter if you’re staring down the barrel of an assault rifle or an Armalite rifle. Most importantly, I agree entirely on the matter of mental illness. I should’ve clarified that there’s a distinction between ADHD and other non-violent mental illnesses. Once again, thank you for reading my article.

  3. Jordan Sanzottera on March 14th, 2018 7:56 pm

    Another problem I see with this article is that you state early on that you don’t want to ban firearms than later on, you state that the difference between England and America is that England confiscated all handguns and banned the further sale of all firearms. This makes it seem that the only solution to school shootings is to ban the sale of guns and confiscate all of the remaining guns, this would be considered unconstitutional in our country. Another problem is that England banned only handguns and not ARs, the type of guns you wish to see banned, which means that the citizens of England still have access to ARs and yet still don’t have the number of school shootings that we do. What England does have better is a health care system that helps the mentally ill, unlike the US. What the US needs is to have better access to mental illness healthcare and for police officers and teachers to be better at screening individuals who might have a mental illness. Until we find a better way to help individuals who have mental illnesses these type of school shootings will only continue.

  4. Cale Barnes on March 22nd, 2018 3:37 pm

    I’d like to thank you for reading my article. When I referenced the United Kingdom it was merely a suggestion, a route another country had taken, not the only path. I wasn’t aware of the fact that it was only handguns that were banned, I may have misunderstood the article I read, I apologize. Again, thank you for reading my article. I’m always glad to have a civil discussion.

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