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Stepping away from tragedy for perspective

by Emma Misiaszek - Photo Editor
Tue, Feb 27th 2018 08:00 pm
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“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” right? Wrong. People do kill people, but guns make that killing infinitely easier.

On Wednesday, Feb. 14 Nikolas Cruz, a disgruntled student who had been previously expelled, entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas  High School armed with an AR-15 and killed 17 people, fourteen of which were young students and three of which were faculty members.

Sadly, this tragedy was not as major of a headline as earlier school shootings such as the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 were in their day. School shootings, and mass shootings in general, are becoming America's new norm.

According to The Washington Post, there have been 150 public mass shootings in America since 1966. The deadliest of these mass shootings have occurred within the past few years. Out of the staggering 1,077 people killed in these mass shootings, 176 of them were children and teenagers.

School shootings aren’t exactly a new occurrence in American society. The first school mass shooting occurred in 1966 when 25-year-old Charles Whitman shot and killed sixteen students at the University of Texas.

In the 52 years it’s been since the “University of Texas Massacre,” it seems that mass shooters are still able to obtain guns as easily as they could back in the ’60s.

So why haven’t we done anything? Probably because the National Rifle Association (NRA) is one of the most influential lobbying groups in D.C. and its money is in the pockets of dozens of politicians. People such as John McCain, Marco Rubio and Rob Portman block any attempts for stronger gun laws in exchange for campaign donations.

God forbid some (mostly) white, old men lose their guns, right? How will they protect themselves from dangerous intruders? How will they kill innocent animals for fun?

There is no need for any average citizen to own multiple firearms. Guns make humans weapons of mass destruction. We could get into the whole argument that only those with mental illness armed with firearms are a danger to society, but that’s not exactly true. According to Vox, Michael Stone, a psychiatrist at Columbia University who maintains a database of mass shooters, wrote in a 2015 analysis that only 52 out of the 235 killers in the database, about 22 percent, had mental illnesses. 

“The mentally ill should not bear the burden of being regarded as the ‘chief’ perpetrators of mass murder,” Stone said in an interview with Vox.

As long as money is valued more than innocent lives, school shootings will continue to happen. I’m afraid that as mass shootings are becoming more and more frequent, we as a society are becoming more desensitized to the horror that is occurring around us. If we come to accept mass shootings as just a part of reality, more innocent people will die.

“We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics,” said former President Barack Obama in a speech after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in 2012.

If we do nothing, we become guilty by association. It’s time to put aside the politics, the greed and the guns.

 

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