In response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and in light of the public dialogues that have followed, Senior Leader Trinity has penned an OP ED piece on gun violence in schools and the impact it has had on her as a high school student.
Trinity is a senior at Lincoln North Star High School and will be continuing her education at Nebraska Wesleyan University where she will study Psychology. As a young activist she strives to be apart of efforts to make positive change and progress.
School was always said to be a safe place, but with school shootings becoming a norm in America, high schoolers across the nation are speaking out on the genuine fear that we feel in the walls of our schools. We are scared of firearms, we are scared of the accessibility to guns, but most of all we are scared of future mass shootings due to the lack of change of gun laws. The ignorance has to end, because “thoughts and prayers” aren’t going to save the next school.
Nobody needs a gun. Unless an individual is on the police force, or the military, a gun is not a necessity. Even hunters in America are expressing their desire for stricter gun control and background checks, because they know that their use of guns is a hobby and not something they can’t live without. It’s not even hunting rifles that are the problem. It’s the assault rifles, which have the literal purpose to kill or “assault” other people as the name states. No human needs to possess a semi-automatic gun, and the fact that almost anybody of age can get their hands on one is terrifying.
It feels as though nowadays, trying to express any opposition to fire arms always results in the “the second amendment gives all Americans the right to bear arms” argument. That amendment was adopted to the United States in 1791, and there’s no denying that guns have significantly changed since the 18th century. Guns were once arms that needed to be cleaned and loaded for each bullet and were incredibly inaccurate. Then they became more effective as the years passed, but now they’ve evolved into weapons that can shoot over 10 rounds per second. It’s a scary reality when people can buy killing machines before they can go to a bar.
It seems that every time there is an event involving gun violence, the authority’s response is always more guns. In the tragic event that recently struck Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the students and teachers were very expressive of their negative feelings towards guns, but arming teachers and staff became the next topic of conversation. To blatantly ignore the students and propose to put them in the presence of more guns is sick. Instead of enforcing stronger gun laws to prevent such heartbreaking events from happening again, authorities decide to put more guns in the circulation. As a black individual, I am already uncomfortable enough with a police officer roaming the halls with a gun at his side, and I can’t imagine a place of education where the teachers are in possession of guns. We want to learn in schools, not shooting ranges.
Stricter gun laws will be hard to achieve in a country that places such a high value on firearms, but it’s definitely not impossible. In Dan Gross’ TED talk “Why Gun Violence Can’t Be Our New Normal” he fights for gun laws and states “we’re marching across the country — we’re not just waiting for Congress to act; that would almost be the definition of insanity. We’re marching across the country,state by state, marriage-equality style.” No change can come if people accept the current state of our country, so it’s time to take action.
We, the student leaders of Lead Up, a non-profit organization that helps students strive for success and prosperity in higher education and future careers, feel the need to take action. We are calling on the community to work with us to stand up for kindness, fight against senseless gun violence and join our project: Stand Up with Lead Up Against Violence. Together, we will accomplish three important goals on the journey to change:
- We are working with high school students across the city of Lincoln to reach out to our peers at Douglas High School to show our support and concern.
- As community leaders, we are asking you to help us remember and honor the victims of terrible tragedies of gun violence by carrying out positive acts of kindness in their name.
- We believe that change will start with us. To empower our peers, we are facilitating learning sessions on mental health, safety, and how to be active in the political system by expressing one’s voice through voting, petitioning, and contacting congressmen to ensure we are being heard.
It’s time for change and, with help, we can make it happen.
Learn more about Stand Up with Lead Up Against Violence by viewing the video on our LinkedIn made by Collegian Leader Nakia.