Can America End Gun Violence?

13 More People Killed By Gun Violenc. When Will It Stop?

It is not enough to be peaceful and loving to everyone. If they want to be anti-Semitic, we will be anti-racist. The time to fight is now.


I'm sure you all have heard about the horrendous shooting of 11 Jewish people in The Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. And if you haven't, I'm sorry that I have to be the one to tell you. But on October 28, just 3 days since I began writing this article, White supremacist, gunman and scum of the Earth Robert Bowers decided that on that day "all Jews must die." As a Jewish individual myself, no matter how many times I have read about this, I still get goosebumps. However, let's not religiously discriminate here; because in Louisville, Kentucky, two African American individuals, Vickie Jones, and Maurice Stallard, who were just minding their own business at a grocery store were shot and killed by another White supremacist and scum of the Earth, Gregory Bush.

My question therefore is...why?

No one is born racist, it is learned. I think the main issue that is causing this is the upcoming elections. Ben Platt, the star of Evan Hanson, a popular Broadway show, tweeted this out recently:

#GunSenseCandidatesBen Platt's twitter

I think this speaks volumes. Personally, I'm not a political person. I vote, and get my opinion out - but that's about it. I don't like the controversy that uproars after the word "politics" have been spoken, because frankly, I don't know enough about what is happening in the political world to form an argument.

But this is not politics — this is our humanity

And as someone who hopes to go into the social work field in the future, I feel it is my duty to be an advocate for the silenced and wounded - and I will do just that, and I hope you will, too.

Last night, I attended my first Vigil

My school, like thousands across the country, held one in memory of those who passed at The Tree of Life Synagogue and in a grocery store in Kentucky. I was touched and humbled by the kindness that my school's community, especially since I had a role in planning this. Additionally, I received hugs and words of encouragement from all people - no matter their religious affiliation - after I said my small speech to remember the victims. I would lie if I said I stopped getting chills days after thinking about that night. Looking back at the words I've written, I feel a sense of surprise and shock as I reflect because I had no idea that I had the ability to write words like that.

Here's is what I wrote

Let me start in saying thank you for coming tonight. Gathering here together is bittersweet. When I first heard the news of the horrendous shooting that took place in Pittsburgh, I was in my room, folding laundry. My roommate was watching the news, and I heard the words "a gunman entered a synagogue," and immediately turned around. She looked at me, puzzled, and asked if I reacted the way I did because I am Jewish - and I said yes. It is imperative, especially in a time like this, to stand together as one. I always wonder, when this will all end. As an individual who identifies as Jewish, hearing news like this made my heart skip a beat. We hear about shootings far too often, that this doesn't shock me too much. And what a terrible world to live in where that becomes anyone's reality. Truth be told, I don't know when this will stop. What I do know is that I am scared. And I believe I speak on behalf of my peers, friends, teachers, parents, and the community as well when I say so. As I type this speech up in the comfort of my room, I think that these people will never fold laundry again. They will never type on a laptop again, they will never smile again, or laugh again, or even cry again. Why? Because they are Jewish? Because they were praying? No, none of that. It's because of hate. I remember the day I heard about the Sandy Hook shooting, the ruthless murdering of 20 elementary school students. Adam Lanza didn't commit that crime because these children identified with a certain religion. Gregory Bush didn't murder two African American people in a grocery store because they identified with a certain religion. I ask you then, why? It's because of hate. I could go on, because when I looked up "shootings," google's search engine automatically suggested "shootings this week." But I won't for brevity. In the beginning of this speech, I stated that tonight was bittersweet. I say this because through all the tragedy that has occurred, we are here, together, in hopes of making the world a safer place. I ask you to open your eyes. If you see something that looks wrong, it probably is. I have fears of being in a classroom that I am often silent about. We have to stick together, because when hate strikes, we strike harder. When fear arises, we rise above. I hope for a day when no one has to say that they are afraid to be a classroom like I currently am. Finally, if I could ask you all to take away one thing from tonight, it's to come together and to remember that we are stronger than any malicious act. We will get through this tough time together. To the families and friends of the victims of the shooting of Tree of Life synagogue and Jefferson Kentucky Kroger, my thoughts and prayers go out to you. We will overcome this. The time to unify is now. Here at Rider - there is no place for hate - and I am nothing short of proud to be apart of that.

Don't get it twisted — this isn't about me,

Or my writing, or my ability to say a speech in front of dozens of people without breaking down into tears. It's about the victims, their families, friends, and anyone has been affected. I agreed to do this because I needed a way to give back. I know there is nothing I can do to bring these people back, but knowing that I was able to contribute in their honor makes me know that the chills I felt and the tears I fought back were worth it.

As someone who is not political, I've exercised my right to vote, and I hope you do the same.

We hold in our hearts the victims

1. Irving Younger, 69

2. Melvin Wax, 87

3. Rose Mallinger, 97

4. Bernice Simon, 84

5. Sylvan Simon, 86

6. Jerry Rabinowitz, 66

7. Joyce Feinberg, 75

8. Richard Gottfried, 65

9. Daniel Stein, 71

10. Cecil Rosenthal, 59

11. David Rosenthal, 54

12. Vickie Jones, 65

13. Maurice Stallard, 69

It is not enough to be peaceful and loving to everyone. If they want to be anti-Semitic, we will be anti-racist. The time to fight is now.



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10 Deadliest School Shootings in U.S. History

These are ten of the most savage attacks on American innocence.

School shootings in America trace back as early as the Settlers and Indians .

Over the years, attacks on schools have gotten progressively more brutal, senseless and deadly. Motives behind such occurrences are often blamed on social cliques and bullying or the perpetrators often suffer from mental illnesses or addiction.

Here are the 10 deadliest school shootings in American history:

10. West Nickel Mines Shooting

On October 2, 2006, milk-tank truck driver Charles Carl Roberts opened fire on a small Amish schoolhouse in Bart Township, Pennsylvania. Prior to going to the school, Roberts left a suicide note at home for his wife and children.

Roberts entered the one-room schoolhouse and ordered all the boys to leave, as well as one pregnant woman and three parents with infants. He ordered the remaining ten girls against the wall and held them hostage.

Sisters Mariah and Barbara Fisher, ages 13 and 11, courageously asked to be shot first in exchange for the lives of the other young girls; some were as young as six years old. Roberts killed Mariah and wounded Barbara. In addition, he shot eight out of the 10 girls, killing five of them.

9. Oikos University Shooting

43-year-old One L. Goh committed Oakland, California's deadliest mass killing on April 2, 2012, at the Korean Christian college Oikos University. Witnesses testify Goh stood up in his nursing class and ordered everyone against the wall at gun point.

One student recalls him yelling, "Get in line..I'm going to kill you all!" before firing. He killed seven people and wounded three others.

8. California State Fullerton Massacre

Custodian Edward Charles Allaway was reported as going "postal" on July 12, 1976 at California State University in Fullerton, California. The 37-year-old employee of the institute had a history of violence and mental illness, and was later diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

He was found insane by the judge of his trial for the murders. He called the police after killing seven people and wounding two others, and turned himself in. His motives behind the mass murder included him believing the university library was screening pornographic movies his wife was forced to appear in.

He is currently receiving medical treatment for his condition at the Patton State Hospital.

7. Red Lake Shootings

The Red Lake Indian Reservation in Red Lake, Minnesota will never quite be the same after events which occurred at the senior high school on March 21, 2005.

16-year-old Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather (a tribal police officer) and his girlfriend. He then robbed his grandfather of police weapons and bullet proof vest, before ultimately driving to Red Lake Senior High School where he killed seven people and wounded five others.

Weise took a total of 10 lives that day, including himself. He committed suicide in a classroom after exchanging fire with police.

Witnesses reported Weise smiled while shooting his victims and questioned multiple students about their faith before firing.

6. Umpqua Community College Shooting

On October 1, 2015, 26-year-old Christopher Harper-Mercer committed the deadliest mass shooting in Oregon history. He killed nine people and injured seven others at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon.

He spared one person in the classroom he opened fire in, only to deliver a message to the police for him. Mercer was described as "hate filled" by those who knew him. In addition, he identified himself as a White Supremacist, anti religious and suffered from long term mental health issues.

Some theories behind the mass shooting were Mercer falling below a C average, putting him at risk for suspension, as well as him not being able to pay the tuition bill due.

He ultimately committed suicide after the attack.

5. Enoch Brown School Massacre

The Enoch Brown School Massacre is one of the first documented school shootings in U.S. history. On July 26, 1794, four Lenape Indians entered a Settler's schoolhouse in Delaware where they massacred school master Enoch Brown and nine children; they were shot and scalped.

Two children survived the attack and four others were kidnapped and taken as prisoners. This event is considered one of the most notorious incidents of the Pontiac War.

4. Columbine High School Massacre

High school seniors Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, may have not committed the deadliest school shooting in the U.S., but their killing spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado is considered one of the most infamous attacks in history.

It sparked numerous debates, including gun control, anti-depressant drugs and the influence social cliques, violent video games and bullying have on the mental health of high school students.

Harris and Klebold spent countless hours preparing for the events on April 20, 1999, which were documented in their "Basement Tapes." The tapes contained footage of the two boys having target practice with illegally obtained firearms, as well as a suicide message and apology to their parents.

Their ultimate goal was to be responsible for more victims than the Oklahoma City bombing, an event the boys idolized. The morning of the shootings, Harris and Klebold encountered one of their few friends Brooks Brown in the school parking lot.

Brown was one of the few students the shooters considered a friend; they told him to leave campus immediately because "something bad was about to happen."

Reports claim the boys targeted jocks, taunted people for their belief in Christianity and made jokes with each other while they killed their peers. Harris and Klebold took the lives of 13 people and injured 24.

They committed suicide in the library together.

3. UT Tower Shooting

On August 1, 1966, former Marine sharp-shooter Charles Whitman unleashed havoc on the campus of University of Texas in Austin, Texas.

Whitman positioned himself on the observation deck at the very top of the U.T. Tower; it was the perfect place for a sniper to have his pick of targets, considering you could see the entire campus from his vantage point.

He killed 14 people and wounded 31 others. Prior to his attack on campus, Whitman killed his wife and mother.

Post autopsy, it was theorized that Whitman's behavior might have been caused by a tumor found in his brain. Doctors and psychologists attribute the tumor to his impulsive, irrational behavior and his lack of a conscience.

This theory was supported by records of Whitman seeking professional help prior to the shooting for "overwhelming, violent impulses" he felt he couldn't control.

2. Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting

20-year-old Adam Peter Lanza is responsible for arguably the most senseless and brutal attack on a school in U.S. history.

On December 14, 2012 Lanza shook the town of Newtown, Connecticut when he attacked Sandy Hook Elementary School. Lanza killed his mother, before entering the school where he killed 26 people and inured two others; the majority of his victims were children aging from five to 10 years old.

He committed suicide upon completion of the attack. This shooting in particular confused both the media and authorities, because Lanza never offered a motive or reasoning behind the murder of his mother nor the horrendous mass slaying of innocent children.

1. Virginia Tech Massacre

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia came under attack on April 16, 2007. Senior student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and injured 17 more in two attacks – one in a co-ed dormitory, the other in the Engineering, Science and Mechanics building.

He is noted as committing the deadliest attack on a school in U.S. history.

Cho was previously diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder; among the tapes he personally mailed to NBC news, Cho expressed his hatred for the wealthy, compared himself to Jesus Christ and explained that he was forced to commit the mass shooting due to voices in his head.

Virginia Tech has held the number one spot as deadliest school shooting for five years.

Holocaust survivor Liviu Librescu was a professor in the Engineering, Science and Mechanics department at the school, who was famously remembered for using his body as a barricade against the door during the attack; Librescu was killed during the attack but managed to hold the door closed long enough for all of his students to escape out the window.

Cho ultimately committed suicide following the shooting.

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2,044 Mass Shootings Have Followed Sandy Hook, Yet That's Still Not 'Enough' For Us To Take Action

With momentary sadness followed by disgusting ease, we are able to push these tragedies aside faster and faster as they become a foreseen reality.


On December 14th, 2012, our country was in disbelief as 20 children and 6 adults lives were lost to a gunman who took their lives as well as his own at Sandy Hook Elementary school. On this day, each of us vowed that an event of this demeanor has no place in our world and that we would do everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.

Fast forward 7 years and mass shootings are popping up on the news day after day. As months roll on, it has become easier as a society to normalize these shootings, which is a red flag I never thought possible.

In June 2016, we witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in the United State's history at a nightclub in Orlando, leaving 50 dead on the scene. In between Sandy Hook and this shooting, there were 994 others. 994, let that sink in.

After Orlando, in October 2017, a shooting at a Las Vegas music festival saw 59 dead, becoming the new deadliest shooting in the U.S.

Most recently, a school shooting in Denver has left eight students injured and one 18 years old dead on May 7, 2019. This was preceded by a school shooting in North Carolina only days earlier, where 2 individuals lives were taken and 4 were injured.

As a citizen, it's easier to start distancing yourself from these overwhelmingly sad yet continuous occurrences, telling yourself that "this will be the last one" or that "maybe this will really make the laws change." Yet, no one and no place seems to be safe from these heartbreaking events.

From the most liberal places in California to the reddest southern states and all those in between, there is no pattern to these mass murders. No background or economic status has protected the thousands of innocent people from being taken from us way before their time.

About a month ago, I experienced the scare first hand at my school, the University of Michigan. We were told to go into hiding as police described suspects carrying concealed weapons on campus, with the news that there had been shots fired on the main campus. 4 hours into hiding, we were told that the alert was a false alarm, however, this day showed the disturbing reality of how anyone's life could change in a matter of milliseconds. Saddest of all was the overwhelming amount of times I heard "I knew it would happen here eventually" and "I always thought it would happen on a game day." No student should live in a world where they are expectant of a tragedy like this.

Mass killings of our countries people isn't a political issue. Mass killings of innocent children, teachers, friends, and loved ones should not be a fight between parties. After Sandy Hook, we said enough was enough. Years later, we're still turning on the news to see more lives taken, and the sentiment has been lost.

I've been fortunate enough to not have lost a friend, family member or peer in these 2,043 shootings. As someone who has gone through a false alarm, I can't imagine the reality of having to live on after a freak incident, especially one where you lose a loved one or a fellow community member.

2,044 mass shootings in 7 years, totaling 2,317 deaths and leaving over 8,000 injured. It's time we stand together, put aside our differences and work towards the only thing that should matter: never letting those with these cruel intentions have the opportunity to commit these crimes, and saving innocent lives in the memory of those we have already lost.

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