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Never again.

Hannah Vogel, Editor-in-Chief/ Web Editor

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Alyssa Alhadeff was fourteen years old. She hoped to be a lawyer and a professional soccer player, but Alyssa will never live to graduate law school. She didn’t even live to finish her first year of high school. Alyssa, among fourteen other students with hopes and dreams and aspirations, was killed. She will never go to law school. She will never graduate high school. Her life was taken by a gun, and, instead of our government standing up and saying “enough,” we sat back and refused to enact stricter gun laws.

The time for only “thoughts and prayers” is up. America needs policy and change. We need congress to take actionnot send their regards. It’s not about simple gun control and gun violence anymore. The second amendment and its semi-automatic military weapons are now infringing on one of our most important rights: the right to education.

Ask your parents, your grandparents, yourself even, when did it become necessary for school protocol to include the possibility of gun violence on campus? Furthermore, don’t ask whenask why. We shouldn’t even have to fathom the possibility of this crime, and yet we do.  I believe that after this shooting, we can no longer sit in silence and refuse to pass new legislation. We need to stand up and take action against assault rifles.

I’m not here to talk numbers. I’m not here to rehash the horror and blood and violence. Rather, I’ll direct you to the court case that led to the current interpretation of the second amendment—the interpretation that allows every man and woman a right to obtain and own a semi-automatic weapon for their own personal “safety.”

On June 26, 2008, the case District of Columbia v. Heller solidified the current interpretation of our second amendment. Now, before I mention the ruling, though I am sure many of you can guess the result, I want to talk about the history behind the second amendment.

The constitution was written in 1787 and ratified three years later. To begin with, 1787 was a drastically different time in America: All our country knew was war. We were at war with Britain, and then we began the war amongst ourselves soon after. It was natural, logical even, for a citizen to possess a rifle or gun of some sort, for these were the days of standing armies, minute men and militias. The second amendment was written for that time, 223 years ago, not for modern America, and certainly not for 2018.

The initial wording of the amendment states that we have the right to “a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State.” Today, there are hardly any regulations regarding who is eligible to purchase a gun. We have come to think that we are protecting ourselves by buying guns that can murder our fellow citizens. How is that comforting? When did we decide to condone murder?

The war on gun control only exists because of the arming of individuals. I do not want to come to school with my teachers armed. I do not want to live in a world of fear of getting shot. And what happens when the good guy with a gun becomes the bad guy? How can we know? As long as these weapons are on these streets and access to them remains easy, then I cannot feel safe.

Britain banned handguns in 1997 after a school shooting in 1996 where sixteen children and a school teacher were killed. Since the banning of handguns, Britain has had zero school shootings. Australia, after a massacre in Tasmania 22 years ago, introduced a strict set of gun control laws and their mass shootings dropped to zero.

According to an article in The New York Times, “more Americans have died from gun violence, including suicides, since 1970 (about 1.4 million) than in all the wars in American history going back to the Revolutionary War (about 1.3 million).”

Furthermore, in a study conducted by the non-partisan National Bureau of Economic Research, they found that since the right-to-carry laws were passed, that the right to carry a concealed weapon has increased violent crime by 13-15%.

But we are a country unwilling to concede. We have come to fear those with guns, yet we believe arming more citizens is the answer. We shouldn’t live in fear. Fear has bred ignorance, and both sides of the political spectrum are guilty of it; however, we have come to fear for our education, our lives, our “liberty and pursuit of happiness.”

Even though Florida did pass a new gun law on March 7th, and even though that law did raise the minimum age, ban bump stocks (devices that allow the weapon to be fired faster), create a waiting period, and “expand mental health services and regulations” (nytimes.com), the bill also favored to “arm school employees” which, in my opinion, is not the answer to making our schools safer. What will make schools—and arguably society—safer is doing what the bill failed to strengthen background checks, suspend AR-15 sale, ban high capacity magazines (allowing gunmen to shoot more people in less time) or ban assault weapons (which has been the largest demand of the Parkland survivors).

High schools are supposed to be educational institutions, not war zones. Because “it’s 2018” should not be a reason for why I need to constantly be thinking of an escape plan .“It’s 2018” should not be the reason why we are afraid to go to school or have my teachers armed. “It’s 2018” should not be a reason for why these shootings are happening.

Instead of preparing and fearing for the worst, we need to stand up, take action against assault rifles, and make sure that we never have to hear of another school shooting.

Enough is enough.  

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Never again.”

  1. Adam Smith on March 22nd, 2018 10:35 am

    Not a strict constructionist view of the constitution.

  2. Mother Jones on March 26th, 2018 6:57 am

    Because it’s 2018, we have a graduating class of seniors across the country who have decided to lead the way on common sense gun laws. The adults thank you for your courage. I, for one, have got your backs.

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