It’s hard to believe the degree of violence innocent people are witnessing every day. The Parkland shooting is only the most recent in a string of school shootings that have occurred in 2018. With 17 deaths, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has quickly surpassed Columbine to become the most devastating high school shooting and falls second only to Sandy Hook in terms of all-time school shootings.
Teenagers should be writing term papers, studying for AP tests and gossiping about who’s dating who for the third time, not fearing for their lives. But, in today’s America, the latter is becoming more and more common.
This most recent act of terrorism has been staggeringly different from many shootings in the past because of the use of social media to spread the traumatizing events that took place at the school. Naturally, in response to Parkland, the “Twitterverse” has exploded with anti-gun plans and calls to action directed towards some of the biggest figureheads in the government; however, like any good debate, it’s important to know our opponent’s strategy. While to some the anti-gun argument seems like the obvious solution, there are those who may still be confused, so here’s exactly why the argument against gun control is irrelevant.
“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”
However, it’s important to note the time at which the Constitution was written and the difference in American lifestyles today.
Firearms can be sorted into three general types: handguns, shotguns and rifles. From there, there are both semi-automatic firearms, meaning a single bullet is fired each time the trigger is pulled and the gun automatically reloads and fully automatic firearms, which can fire several bullets with one trigger pull.
In the 1800s, when the Constitution was written, the men of the household were counted on to hunt and bring back game for their families to eat. While many Americans still use their guns to hunt, a fully automated rifle is not necessary to shoot a wild deer or rabbit.
Also, at the time, many Americans were part of the militia. The males in the community would be called upon, when necessary, to fight and they supplied their own weapons. Now, in the 21st century, we no longer operate through community militias, instead, we have the National Guard.
Therefore, “The Constitution said so” can no longer be a valid argument for those against gun control, “For self defense” is not an excuse to have a fully automated rifle on hand and “Because it’s my right” should never be used to rationalize why thousands of innocent lives are taken each year in one of the most violent and crude way possible.
In 2016, 73% of all murders were committed with firearms and yet we still want to place these weapons inside preschool classrooms.
Thought and prayers will not bring back lost lives, nor will it save future victims, but lawmakers and policy changes can. Changes that begin with us, on the ballots and in everyday life where we can continue to advocate for gun control. This doesn’t immediately mean the confiscation of every firearm in the United States, but it definitely means implementation of more regulations, expensive fees and extensive background checks that make it harder for guns to be purchased.
There should be no excuse for how and why a nineteen-year-old can open fire on a school of innocent students. It’s easy to get worn out by the constant update of crime plaguing our national news, but it’s important not to let desensitization turn into a cultural norm.
Killing innocent students is not normal, and nor should it ever be.