In December 2012, a gunman killed 20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. This tragedy has been one of the most shocking examples of gun violence since Columbine in 1999. However, the single greatest misfortune is that absolutely nothing has been done since this horrendous tragedy.
In over a year since the Sandy Hook massacre, there have been 92 school shootings. According to CNN, this averages out to a single school shooting per week. This does not include movie theatres, houses of faith, shopping malls and street corners. When will enough be enough? Gun rights advocates defend their right to keep and bear arms, but what about a child’s right to go to school without fear?
According to USA Today, last Friday freshman Jaylen Fryberg, a student at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, walked into the cafeteria and opened fire on his classmates. Six people were shot in total, two died at the scene, including the shooter, who took his own life.
On Sunday evening, 14-year-old Gia Soriano died of the wounds she sustained during the massacre, USA Today reported. The other three wounded students are still in critical condition.
Fryberg was not a bullied kid, nor was he known to have mental illness. In fact, he was a football player and had recently been crowned homecoming prince. According to USA Today, he was upset about a romantic relationship with one of the girls he shot.
The time for major changes is long overdue. When it comes to the safety of children, politics should not dictate the direction of a nation.
America has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world. NPR highlights that the U.S. had the highest rate of civilian gun ownership, at almost 90 guns per 100 people.
More guns means more death, and that’s a fact. The U.S. has the highest rate of gun homicides and deaths in the developed world. Guns kill around 32,000 people per year in the U.S. According to Federal Gun Violence Statistics, this means that every single day, 90 people die from gun violence in America.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health and Northeastern University, mass shootings are occurring more frequently and have tripled since 2011. As the study notes, public mass shootings have occurred every 172 days since 1981. Since 2011, they have been occurring every 64 days.
Maybe school personnel should start carrying guns around with them, but is that the kind of American education system we want? A plethora of new problems could stem from this idea. What needs to happen is a discussion; there needs to be a change.
Solving gun control and violence issues is extremely complex, but one of the single driving factors is resolvable. According to the Huffington Post, if the U.S. establishes legislation, to lessen gun violence, gun manufacturers may lose a substantial amount of money.
In addition, most firearm sales are not currently subject to background checks. Current protections for gun sellers make it tough for law enforcement to identify shady gun purchases. Individuals who can pass existing background checks might buy fire arms then sell guns illegally to those who can not.
Terminating these loopholes may make the U.S. safer but will ultimately damage gun manufacturers’ bottom lines. According to the Washington Post, ‘‘Nine out of 10 Americans support universal background checks and three out of four NRA members agree.’’ Gun supporters fight legislation regardless and have a strong hold in the political process. Citizens need to keep gun violence on their political, public and personal agendas.
We need to demand a plan. It is not too soon, it is too late. Now is the time, before we all know someone who loves someone on those lists of lives lost. No more who they might have been, no more if we had just done something yesterday. We can do better than this. It has been enough.