On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz arrived at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland at 2:19 p.m. with a black duffel bag and backpack and pulled out a semiautomatic AR-15. 17 counts of murder. 17 people, 17 faces, 17 children, 17 sons and daughters dead.
In 2018 alone, there have been 30 mass shootings as well as the Parkland incident. A report from the Congressional Research Service describes mass shootings as “those in which shooters select victims somewhat indiscriminately and kill four or more people.” The reason why America has mass shootings might have something to do with our gun laws. Compared to a country like Japan; which has practically eliminated gun crime, America is seriously lagging behind. How Japan has done it is what some Americans won’t agree with.
To obtain a gun in Japan you need to attend an all-day class, pass a written exam and a shooting range test with at least a 95% mark. There are also mental health checks, drug tests, criminal background tests, and a check on your relatives and colleagues. In addition, the ownership of automatic weapons is not authorized, only shot guns and air rifles are allowed. This is all too much for some Americans who like to claim their second amendment rights as sacrosanct.
Senator Marco Rubio is one of those who don’t seem to understand what gun control is. The day after the shooting, Rubio stated “That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a law that makes it harder. It just means, understand, to be honest, it isn’t going to stop this from happening.” People like Rubio seem to think gun control means ban all guns. And that isn’t the case. It just means putting the right laws in place to make sure guns are being handled correctly. Also; if handled correctly, if the laws are effective things like the black market won’t exist. Especially if the rules put in place are like the ones in Japan.
Some politicians have responded with the “sending prayers method”. Which is fine, but it isn’t going to stop someone from buying a gun and going on a rampage. Even the kids from the most recent shooting are calling for more regulations.
“Here’s a time to talk about gun control: March 24. My message for the people in office is: You’re either with us or against us. We are losing our lives while the adults are playing around.”
And these adults are playing around. After the shooting President Trump tweeted, “Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!”
The first thing wrong with the tweet is how the president has somehow managed to make a mass shooting about himself and matters concerning the election investigations. Secondly; it ignored the fact that Cruz was reported to the FBI in January, but they didn’t follow protocol. So even if there were regulations, would they be enforced?
Very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2018
Trump then also tweeted “So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed; even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior,” Which is also extremely problematic. Linking mental illness to mass shootings is not ok. There are so many factors that go into someone performing such a heinous act. “Only 3 percent of all violent acts are committed by people with serious mental illness, and about 1 percent of all violence appears to be committed by people with serious mental illness using firearms to kill strangers,” A statement like the one Trump made makes anyone with any type of mental illness feel less than.
What the leaders of this country are doing is undermining the situation. None of them know how to handle this situation, or rather most of them seem willing to not deal with the situation. What is needed is a direct and purposeful debate about effective gun safety legislation in the United States of America. Bipartisan vendettas and vested interest must be put aside; now is the time for the lawmakers in America to make history for the right reasons. Effective gun safety regulations will save more lives and no right is greater than the value of a human life.
By: Chelsea Hinkofer
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