Parkland, Florida, I'm fighting for you. Congress, I'm coming for you.
Now, before you start bashing your computer against a wall because I’m politicizing a tragedy, allow me to elaborate. This is not meant to further ignite the flames of hatred between liberals and conservatives. Instead, my intentions are to spark up a discussion, a discussion that should have happened many mass shootings ago.
The tragedy that took place in Parkland, Florida on February 14th has been incredibly painful to digest. It is distressing to think of the beautiful lives lost as a result of such cruel, inhumane actions. My heart goes out to the grieving families and friends of those who suffered such unwarranted deaths.
However, as heartbreaking as this tragedy is, thoughts and prayers alone will not prevent the next shooting from happening.
So, what will? Many would say that gun control is a step in the right direction. The validity of this statement is easily affirmed upon observing simple data. Countries like Australia, Japan, Scotland, England and many others prove with overwhelming evidence that enacting strict gun control laws results in less mass shootings.
According to a source from the University of Alabama in 2016, America makes up less than 5% of the world’s population yet holds 31% of global mass shooters. Gun homicide rates are 25 times higher in America than in any other high-income country. Why is this? What is it that America does not have that other countries do? Could it be… gun control?
Well, if gun control seems to work, why don't we have it? The answer is simple. Money. You see, our congressmen are bought and paid for by the NRA. The NRA contributes thousands upon thousands of dollars to political campaigns and individual endowments, ensuring that gun reform never transpires.
The best part is, our congressmen continue to express their faux sympathy after every mass shooting as if they aren’t perfectly capable of preventing the next one.
Obviously, the shooter himself deserves the central blame, but let’s not act like this issue isn’t far more complex than that. An awfully relevant example of this would be Marco Rubio, who has taken more money from the NRA than any other Florida politician, accepting over three million dollars throughout his legislative career.
The day of the Parkland shooting he tweeted, “Today is that terrible day you pray never comes”. Well, Rubio, it did come. It came because you did nothing to prevent it, but thank you for your prayers.
The rifle Nikolas Cruz used to murder seventeen people at Stoneman Douglass High School was purchased legally. This means that strengthening background checks could have prevented this purchase from ever even happening. If Florida congressmen had acted in the best interests of the people rather than in the interest of their bank accounts, that gun would not have been obtained.
It is not a coincidence that the same lawmakers receiving endowments from the NRA are the ones voting against gun reform measures. Yes, I’m talking to you, Congress. I know it is quite the toss up, but please choose the safety of the American people over checks from the NRA.
We should be making it as arduous as possible for disturbed individuals like Nikolas Cruz to obtain firearms. We should be restricting rifles and ammunition from circulating into the wrong hands. We should be trying everything, yet we’re not.
Of course, the counterargument then arises that bad people will do bad things, with or without guns. Yet, I haven't heard of a butter knife being a weapon of mass destruction. So, yes, bad people do bad things, but they use guns.
So, is gun control the answer? We can't know for sure, but does the mere chance alone not make it worth a try? I mean, we must do something.The lives of our children are at stake here. We cannot just sit around with our arms crossed and hope for the best until the next mass shooting.
American politics is so tainted with corruption that it would almost be laughable if it weren’t so simultaneously horrifying. Votes against gun reform are being bought by the NRA and people are dying as a result. Our government is doing us a great injustice and we must not only face that, but fight it. Are we really expected to accept thoughts and prayers as calls of action? Do the victims of gun violence not deserve more than that?
Florida, I am grieving with you. I am sorry that your senators are not doing more, or anything at all, actually. It is not right and it is not fair. As I recognize that the love of money has outweighed the value of human lives, my heart aches. The greed of humanity will only lead to its own downfall.
My voice alone may not change anything, but as more Americans speak up on the issues that matter to them, change will soon be on the horizon. I hope to raise my children in a future where they do not have to fear going to school. I hope to raise them in a future where empathy exists, kindness prevails and compassion overflows. However, until then, I will stand for my beliefs and fight for the proper steps towards that future to be taken.