How The Parkland Survivors Change The Debate On Gun Control

The Florida School Shooting Has Given Students Across The Nation An Important Job

In wake of recent school shootings in America, more precautionary policies must be implemented.
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Every time I hear of a new school shooting I can't help but look around at my campus and wonder what we would do if we were in the same situation. Since these shootings have become more prevalent and fatalities have been rising, people are noticing just how vulnerable schools are and we aren't prepared to handle it.

Last year, the University of Texas at Austin was under a lockdown because there was a man on campus who had stabbed multiple students, killing one. That same day, reports of bomb threats and other stabbings were being passed around through social media, leaving students frantically worrying about their safety.

Then just last week, there were unattended guns found in academic buildings.

Campus policies allow students to carry concealed registered guns on campus and I wonder with fear when our own day will come? I hear students talk about using their own guns to combat whoever's threatening our campus but what if they shoot another student while trying to do so?

Does that risk really outweigh doing nothing?

Hundreds of elementary, middle, and high school kids walk onto our UT campus unknowing of the violent events that have occurred and blindly trust their teachers and our own to protect them.

If I had it my way, I would cancel school tours until we had visible safety policies in place.

Every time I watch these tourists gawk at our architecture and the endless academic programs we provide and allow the children to run rampant throughout the dining areas, all I can think about is where would they go?

Where would I go?

Until our government decides to sever its ties with groups like the National Rifle Association, who keep putting guns into anyone's hands rather than putting children's lives last, we need to be more active about safety awareness.

Some professors on the UT Austin campus have made it their own responsibility by prohibiting weapons in their classrooms and plastering signs in their windows reading 'Gun-Free UT.'

Student organizations like UT student government have pushed for more police monitoring on campus, up-to-date safety alerts, and Sure Walk in an attempt to reduce nighttime risks.

The legislation UT student government has been able to get passed has been amazing, but it must not stop there. Safety policies shouldn't stop advancing once UT Austin domain, they should be passed on to other schools and collaborated on.

There shouldn't be one school left behind.

Like what the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school have begun, if the students must take on the responsibility of ensuring their own safety, so be it.

We'll get it done.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Having Guns Around Doesn't Make Me Feel Safe

Officials want to have laws that put guns in every place that I am supposed to feel safe, and yet, in every place there is a gun, I feel scared.

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According to SB 7030 (which must be passed by the House to be written into law), Florida teachers will be able to carry firearms under the "Armed Guardians" program. Teachers must undergo a psychological evaluation and training program to be able to carry their gun and districts must approve the program to introduce the program to the teachers, staff, students, and parents.

SB 7030 was introduced after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in February of last year and had a total of twenty-two to seventeen votes to pass to the House. It would offered in applicable school districts and teachers would volunteer to take part in the program (including evaluations and training).

Although there has been eight school shootings since January 1, 2019, and there were twenty-four school shootings in 2018 (328 mass shootings total - almost one every day of the year) and according to the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, there were 94 school shootings involving guns - which is an increase of 59% since 2006 and a record high since 1970.

Officials want to have laws that put guns in every place that I am supposed to feel safe, and yet, in every place, there is a gun, I feel scared.

Elementary school is when I started learning about Code Red drills. In fifth grade, I remember hearing the principal announce a code red, and every child in my class rushing to the back of the classroom, voices completely silent. Soon, every drill was standard - once a month: fire drill, code red, lock-downs - and you don't think much of the threats that are "supposedly" in place.

Sandy Hook is the first time that I felt threatened in a school. In 2012, I was in eighth grade, halfway through the year and getting ready to move into high school - it's scary enough to be a freshman, I didn't think that this was something I would have to be worried about.

Our classrooms had the news on immediately - and I remember not learning much in history that morning, because really, I was watching history happen, and I would remember it. I remember everyone being silent, as every hour more children were being put into the hospital - or worse, their faces were on the television because their lives were lost to a someone with a gun. I remember someone saying, "Our parents saw Columbine happen, and now we're watching Sandy Hook. Kids are going to have this in a history book."

Kids are going to have this in a history book.

I sat in a classroom and watched twenty-six partners, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, learn that their spouse, their six and seven-year-old children had died by a human being with a rifle.

In my freshman year of college, a concert in Las Vegas became the deadliest mass shootings in United States history.

In my freshman year of college, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, a high school three hours away from Orlando, became the place of one of the deadliest school shootings in United States history.

Seventeen students and faculty killed.

I have a younger brother. He's seventeen. He's going to be a senior in high school this year.

I don't understand how we are continuing to have this conversation.

I don't understand how after children are being murdered, there is no discussion on how to make gun control a priority.

I don't understand how the government can claim themselves to be "pro-life" when they aren't saving the lives that are going to be the future of this country that everyone believes to be so great.

I don't understand how abortions are becoming illegal faster than an assault rifle.

I am sick of this. I am sick of having to fight with adults about how a gun, how an automatic weapon that can kill dozens of innocent children and adults in minutes is not banned.

I don't feel safe. I don't feel secure.

I don't feel like my professor is going to be able to kill an armed shooter in a nanosecond when they start shooting in a classroom.

I don't feel like one training is going to be enough.

I don't feel like psychological testing is enough.

I. Don't. Feel. Safe.

I don't care about how much you need a gun. I don't care how you think that the Constitution is right.

THE CONSTITUTION WAS WRITTEN BY MEN THAT HAD TO RELOAD THEIR GUNS WITH EVERY BULLET. THEY DIDN'T HAVE BUMP-STOCKS THAT ALLOW A SEMI-AUTOMATIC TO BECOME AN AUTOMATIC AND MURDER FIFTY-EIGHT PEOPLE IN THE MIDDLE OF A CONCERT.

I, literally, don't care.

I refuse to be in a classroom where there are guns. I refuse to be in a place where any individual can carry a gun, with the possibility that there was no psychological testing and safety training. I refuse to be in a society where mass shootings have become so normal, that we are almost immune to seeing that there was an act of gun violence anywhere.

Only mass shootings in schools, religious sanctuaries, and public places are publicly announced, too.

Our society's media sources don't discuss how many suicides are completed by guns. Outlets don't discuss how easy it is for someone that is mentally unstable to access and buy firearms.

Once a mass shooting occurs, everyone wants to blame the mental illness and create such a stigma around mental health that you can't even mark down that you have a mental illness without "warning" employers of possible instability.

STOP USING MENTAL ILLNESS AS AN EXCUSE FOR SICK AND TWISTED INDIVIDUALS TO USE WEAPONS AND KILL PEOPLE.

NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT THIS.

I don't care what you think the Second Amendment is trying to say.

It's outdated. It's an excuse to continue using weapons that are created for mass destruction and shouldn't be in an environment that is meant to be a safe space.

We can agree. We can disagree. However, I think that everyone should come to a common ground in believing that there is something wrong with the system. How is there ever an opportunity for someone to use a semi-automatic rifle? How is there ever use for a rifle that can kill dozens of individuals - children - at a time?

Don't have an answer?

Good. It's because there isn't one.

Our government uses the Constitution as an excuse to have ugly behavior. Our government claims to be "pro-life" but won't take away the thing that kills thousands of people every year. Our government claims to have the interest of the people but takes no precaution to listen to what the people want.

I'm scared of guns. I'm scared of people who have guns. I don't feel safe where there are guns around.

Guns don't and won't ever make me feel safe.

One could hope that someone is finally going to realize that.

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