The first school shooting I can remember was at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14th, 2012, where a mentally ill man with a gun killed 26 people, 20 of whom were first graders. They were children between the ages of 6 and 7. The other 6 people who died that day were adults. I remember coming home from school seeing images of sobbing children and terrified parents trying to find each other as well as trying to find some logical explanation to why something like this would ever happen.
A couple of years later, the largest mass shooting in U.S. history by that point, occurred in Orlando, FL at a gay nightclub called Pulse. Forty-nine people died on June 12th, 2016. But the next year, on October 1st, in Las Vegas, Nevada at a concert, 58 people were murdered by a man with a gun. That, at least for now, is the largest mass shooting in the history of the United States.
On February 14th, 2018, Valentine's Day, a boy shot up Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 17 people. Those kids from Parkland banded together and made noise and forced the entirety of the country to listen and make a change.
On November 2nd, a gunman walked into a Hot Yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida and began shooting. He killed 2 women. Dr. Nancy Van Vessem, a professor at Florida State University, and Maura Binkley, a student at Florida State University. About two years prior to this shooting, on November 20th, 2016 there was a shooting on Florida State campus at Strozier Library, there were no fatalities, fortunately, aside from the gunman himself.
I'm not trying to erase all of the shootings that occurred before 2012 or the plethora that have occurred since. I simply just do not have enough time to list them all, while also getting to the point. This is a people problem there's no denying that; however, this is also a gun problem. Those who disagree with that are being willfully ignorant to a very real and tragic issue that every single person in this country is in danger of.
The Saturday after the shooting here in Tally, I got a text from my dad telling my sister and I to "Be very safe. Don't take things for granted.". I was in Gainesville at the time, visiting my best friend, so I was mostly distracted but when I got back home there was this weight on my chest. The Hot Yoga studio was ten minutes from my dorm, but it felt closer. Walking past Strozier on Monday morning felt different; the shooter had been killed in a shoot-off with the cops right on those steps back in 2016. Tallahassee has been tainted again by another shooting in the ever-growing list in this country. All I could think about was the text from my dad to "be very safe", but how? How can I "be very safe" when a person can't even go to a yoga class and be safe? Or study at the library? Or go to school? Go clubbing? Or even pray?
Voting isn't a privilege for citizens of the United States. It's your damn right. I'm writing this article on November 6th, with the results of the midterms yet to come. However, along with an overabundance of anxiety, there is some hope that more people than I give credit for, saw the need to vote out the passive puppets of the National Rifle Association from Congress. We'll see by tomorrow.
If we as a nation come together under tragedy, we can achieve a form of gun control that allows the second amendment to remain for those who believe it's still necessary while also keeping the country safe. There are weapons available to people that are simply superfluous and there are no excuses to have them.
Regardless of the results of the midterms, we can't stop fighting for gun control. We just can't. It's happening everywhere. Educate yourself, and do whatever is in your capabilities to help put an end to this cycle of thoughts, prayers, and inaction. Click here if you want to know what you can do to help, aside from voting.