Today, I'm going to share a story that I find sad.
There was a shooting in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine's Day, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The 19-year-old suspect was taken into custody with “countless magazines" and potentially an AR-15 assault rifle.
He killed 17 people and injured several others.
I know what you're probably thinking at this point: “Yes, this is a sad story, but why are you sharing this? These kinds of things happen all the time and it's nothing new." I have more to share.
The thing that makes this story particularly sad is the lack of support that has come from social media. I have seen government officials express their condolences, along with a few celebrities, but it seems like most everyday people haven't batted much of an eye to this. I even saw one friend post on Twitter that this sort of thing doesn't phase him anymore.
I've started to realize it's the same with me. After the shooting in Newtown, I felt a kind of urgency when I learned about mass shootings happening elsewhere in the country. I felt like it was my duty to push for gun control on Facebook or to retweet anything that I agreed with on the issue. There was a sort of camaraderie I felt with fellow gun control supporters whenever we spoke out or became political in response to a shooting. That passion is still there, but it's not as strong as before. It hasn't been since Las Vegas.
So now I have to wonder: Have we become too complacent? Is there a reason why so many of us are starting to silence ourselves when another shooting breaks out?
A popular argument between civilians and politicians alike after Las Vegas was to not get political about the shooting. Are we deciding to take that advice? Or are we just not as shocked about shootings anymore if less than 50 people are gunned down?
My point is, the silence is becoming louder than our arguments. A shooting is a shooting, whether one person dies or 100 people die. Innocent lives are still being lost at the hands of people who shouldn't have a gun in the first place, and no amount of “thoughts and prayers," pro-gun arguments, or donations to the NRA are going to stop the number of mass shootings in America. The government needs to seriously discuss changing our gun laws.
I know what arguments will come off of this, and I want to address my stance on this:
I am not calling for a complete and total ban on guns. I think that people who are proven to be safe enough to own a gun should have one if they choose to, within reason. I believe AK-47s, AR-15s, and any other weapon used by the military should be out of civilian hands because their only purpose is to gun down multiple people in one fell swoop. I also strongly believe in implementing background checks before you can purchase a gun. It honestly makes sense. Why give a rifle to someone who is mentally unstable and could use it for harm? That's basically asking for danger.
I know our forefathers made an amendment stating our right to bear arms, but let's remember how different things were in 1789. The weapon of choice back then was a musket, which could not reload fast enough to kill multiple people in a 10-second period. There's no way anyone in the 18th century could have known how much technology would impact our lives, and I'd like to believe they'd be willing to change things if they were around today.
It's time to stop sitting around, and try to make a change. Our government needs to listen to us instead of focusing on the paychecks they get from the NRA. Fix our gun laws.