Too Young


Sydney C Swanson

Students protest government's inaction to gun control.

Cale Barnes, Contributor

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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email