It's Time For Gun Control

It's Time for Gun Control

It has been for a while now.

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From the living room of my Bronx apartment, you can see a school with an American flag flying on its roof. It's a truly majestic sight, this high-flying flag. And it's a tragic sight when it's flying at half-mast, which it is as I write this, and which it was after the last shooting, and the one before that, and so on. This time it's for Thousand Oaks, where 12 men and women, many of them college-aged, were murdered. Last time it was for Pittsburgh, where an anti-semite killed 11 Jewish people at Tree of Life Synagogue.

Who knows what community they'll lower it for next time, or for how many poor, innocent victims. Maybe those victims are churchgoers. Maybe they're college students like myself. Maybe they're schoolchildren. We don't know yet. But I'll know when I get home from class one day and sit down on my couch and look out that window and see that flag flying low again, at which point I'll shake my head and say "how awful". But I'm tired of doing that. I'm sick of looking at that half-mast flag. Lowering the flag to half-mast doesn't bring those people back, and it doesn't do anything for the next victims. We need action.

Let's say we, as a country, introduce a gun control measure that stops just one person from getting gun. It's generally ineffective, but it works once, or maybe a few times. Let's say that one of those few people that are denied a gun was planning on shooting up a Mosque in an act of Islamophobic hatred. Now he can't. Dozens of lives are saved. Is it not worth it? If we can stop even one mass shooting with gun control legislation, would it not be a success?

There's a reason that mass shootings seem to be a uniquely American epidemic. It's because we refuse to take any form of action to stop them. We shake our heads, maybe even shed a tear, and say "wow, how senselessly tragic". And then we move on, until the next one, at which point we'll do it all again. That's the American way. USA, baby.

We need change. We need to prioritize action human lives over the enjoyment of having a weapon with catastrophic capabilities. We need to liberate our government of the dirty, oppressive NRA dollars, and we need to recognize the NRA as complicit in these shootings. We need to find solutions. And to have solutions, we have to have data. But, since 1996 under the Dickey Amendment, the CDC hasn't been allowed to research the causes of gun violence. And although the verbiage was changed this year in order to allow research, the government has not provided any funding, making the reform essentially useless. This has to change.

I'm fed up with looking at that cursed half-mast flag, I'm fed up with the thoughts and prayers, and I'm fed up with hearing heartbroken parents profess their love for their murdered children. It has to stop, now.

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10 Deadliest School Shootings in U.S. History

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

Cover Image Credit: Pinterest

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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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