I grew up in Alabama. In Alabama, people like to hunt and fish but they also love to shoot at targets and skeets. When I was 15 my godfather took me rifle shooting where I shot at paper targets 50 feet away. After many hours I finally hit the target and the rest of the time target practice felt exciting to me. A few years later one of my friends took to a shooting range where we shot at paper targets. It has been three years since I shot a gun and right now I have decided not to use one anytime soon. While I still enjoy the idea of target practice and the excitement of hitting the target I can't help but think about how guns are used aside from target practice.

This article isn't pro or anti-gun or me defending my view on politics. This article is meant to inform. One of the main things that got me so interested in journalism and writing is that it is a medium used to get the word out. To inform. I write this article because I know this is a topic we are all familiar with but do we ever sit down during the day and talk about our opinions of it. When I learned about the second amendment I thought about how it should be used in self-defense. I was never a huge fan of guns but I understand why some people carry them or have them in the house. What I still don't understand is why there have been more shootings.

In February, we all remember the Stoneman Douglas shooting for which many of us are still hurt from. Many of my closest friends are from that district and I just remember thinking what if that was my friend or someone I knew there. I still think about Stoneman Douglas but it still leaves me with questions. Guns freak me out at times but I still struggle to picture something of this magnitude happening.

Having to hear that a shooting happened in Jacksonville, FL five months after Stoneman Douglas gives me chills. Many of my friends are from Florida and I have been fortunate enough to visit them over the years. However, shootings in this state still take some time for them to recover from. Five months ago I had to watch my close friend's father comfort the community of Parkland as their congressman. He had to comfort a reporter who broke down on live television and asked him "Why would this happen?" "Why would someone do this?". While watching this on television I had to ask myself the same question and five months later I am asking them again.

I have always been a part of a community. These communities being affected by the shootings are now trying to piece back together with their lives, relationships, and communities. A shooting derails our lives whether it's in our neighborhood or we just see it on television. Since the Jacksonville shooting there have been 234 mass shootings in 2018 and I am terrified that the number is so high with four months left of the year. Our lives are forever changed from these events and even when we try to adjust them it can still come crashing down. I love my country and I love the state I live in but at the same time, I feel there are days I am living in fear. It will take me some time to calm down from these situations but this is an event we need to monitor heavily.

This article isn't meant to discuss my beliefs or influence you to throw your gun away but it is designed for me to speak my truth. Journalists use writing as a form of communication but I have decided I need to use it as a way of self-expression. I don't agree with everything and I don't choose sides all the time but this allows me to find a way to express myself. I'm not here to change minds but I am here to inform. Gun violence might be a problem in the United States but my intention isn't to advocate for a side.