I’ve had a lot of thoughts about the recent tragedy in Parkland, FL and every other mass shooting that’s happened in the last few years. I don’t know how to put all of my thoughts together in a tweet or even a well put together post, there is so much going to through my head, but I decided to write this post anyways, to get it all out. It’s a little jumbled, a little crazy, but all the honest truth of what I’m feeling. The main thing? This HAS to stop.
Last Wednesday, February 14th, more innocent children and adults were killed in another school shooting, in Parkland, FL. I’ll never forget the moment that I heard about the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, CT. I live in Connecticut, but I didn’t know anyone from that school, I didn’t know anyone who knew anyone, but that didn’t matter. Children were dead. People were killed. Son and daughters, wives and husbands wouldn’t be going home that night. My heart broke. I was sitting in an Applebee’s restaurant with my younger brother who had, had a half day, and I’d just picked up from school. As we were talking, I noticed it all over the TVs in the restaurant and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I was just so damn sad. I could never ever imagine going through what these families were facing that day. And I can’t imagine what hundreds of more families have felt since that day in 2012.
I found a massive problem with myself when I heard about the shooting in Parkland. While I still felt sadness for these families, It wasn’t strong enough. I almost felt numb. We’ve heard of so many school shootings on the news since Sandy Hook you’re almost expecting it if a few weeks have gone by and you’ve heard nothing. I was disgusted with myself. Children were dead, and I was so used to hearing this, that I almost felt nothing. Maybe I felt numb because I refused to feel the sadness and heartbreak that these people lost their lives, but perhaps it’s what I assumed at first, I’m used to it. How does one get used to hearing that children were gunned down by AKs? How does one become numb to hearing the survivors testimonies and news interviews?
I’ve been wanted to write something about this issue for a long time. I’ve been staring at this blank blog post screen for a few days now. It should be so simple. It should be so simple to find a solution to stop children from dying at the hands of someone who managed to get his or her hands on an AK-12 and so on. But apparently, it isn’t. Now I won’t pretend to completely understand guns, types of guns, the differences between them all, how every tiny piece of law works with weapons. Honestly, I don’t know all the facts. What I do know? Children are dying because disturbed people have been able to easily get their hands on these guns, and it is unacceptable. You do not need to be a genius to understand this.
I don’t own a gun, I don’t know many people who do. I’ve never even touched a gun. I do, however, understand why people might feel the need to have a handgun for protection. You absolutely never know when something terrible will happen, when your house will get broken into when someone might mug you out on the street, I can understand the argument for that, to a point. There have been a few occasions where the thought of at least learning HOW to shoot one, JUST IN CASE, has popped into my head. But I don’t see myself ever going through with it.
What I don’t think people seem to grasp is that there is a difference between owning a handgun and having an automatic weapon that they use in war. We are asking for gun reform, gun control, not a gun ban! Why does a civilian need that kind of weapon? Why do you need a gun of that size in your home? And yes I know anyone can just take their regular old handgun or hunting rifle and harm people as well. I know that. But that’s not the issue right now.
When people ask for gun reform, they’re not asking everyone to hand in all their guns. They’re not saying you have no right to protect yourself. We need stricter laws on how someone can obtain one. Do you really believe that a few more pieces of paperwork or a few extra days wait is really such a terrible thing? Those few extra days and pieces of paper can make it harder for someone with malicious ideas to get hands on a weapon that could be used to harm and potentially kill people. It can be enough time for someone who had terrible intentions change their minds or be stopped BEFORE something terrible happens. There are certain kinds of people in this world that should NOT have access to these things. It certainly should not be as easy as it is. You have the right to protect yourself, the second amendment makes that clear, but doesn’t the rest of the world have the right to live without fear? Fear of sending their kids to school? Fear of going to a concert, a movie, to church? I would be lying to you if I said that going to a movie theater to watch a movie does not still make my stomach flip after the Movie Theater shooting in Colorado three years ago. It’s just in my your head. It did happen, it could happen. Anywhere.
I’ve seen some interesting arguments around social media. I see them every time this kind of tragedy stricks. How about we ban trucks? They can kill people. How about we ban knives and scissors? Because they can kill people. I’ve seen people I know, people I’ve gone to school with, old neighbors, other people on the internet and yes, even family make these kinds of claims. I cannot wrap my head around it. I did some research and an AK can shoot off as many as 800 rounds per MINUTE. How can you know a FACT like that and still try to tell me we shouldn’t have scissors because they can be used to kill people too? How does someone’s brain think like that? I work so incredibly hard not to be a judgemental person, but in a situation like this, when thousands of people are being shot at with AKs and so on, in places like churches, school, and theaters, to me, there is no other answer than gun reform.
I do not have the answers. At this moment right now I do not have a solid answer to how do we fix this with gun reform. I do know the idea of letting teachers carry guns on them in school is NOT the answer. I won’t pretend like it’ll be easy to fix this. There’s a lot of red tape, tricky laws and of course the second amendment to consider with something like this, BUT WE AREN’T EVEN TRYING. I get physically angry when I see people type out or say “our thoughts and prayers are with you”every time there’s a mass shooting. In all honesty, fuck your thoughts and prayers. I was a victim or a family member of one during one of these shootings I would not want your prayers and thoughts, that does NOTHING. That is just something people can say to make THEMSELVES feel better, so they feel like they did something to contribute. It’s a load of crap. I get so mad when I see our poor excuse for a president visiting these victims in hospitals and sending out tweets pretending to care. If he cared about anything other than himself, he’d be fighting to find a way to make these children safe. But he isn’t. Some people in the government are trying, but many are not. Many can’t be bothered. It’ll make them look bad, they’ll lose money. Because yes to some people money is more important than a child’s life. It’s disgusting, it’s unacceptable, and I’m ashamed to have an association with a government that thinks this way.
I want to live in an America where you aren’t afraid to go to a movie, you’re not scared to let yourself enjoy a concert, you’re not terrified everytime you drop your kids off at school. I want to live in an America where our government is looking out for us, the American people, and not themselves and the NRA. I want to live in an America that knows it’s more important to protect our CHILDREN than your guns.
I see what the survivors of the Parkland, FL shooting are doing now. Many are old enough to speak up and demand change. They were in that school, they witnessed it, they felt it, that feeling that never is forgotten, and I wouldn’t wish that kind of terror on anyone. They’re calling out our government leaders, they’re staging walks and lie-ins. They’re scheduling marches, and I’m so proud to see them be able to turn an awful tragedy into something positive. They’re telling their stories and begging the right people to listen. These are kids. They are the future. But they won’t continue to have one unless something changes. Background checks, waiting periods, better mental health assessments whatever may need to be done to keep our kids safe, to keep ourselves safe.
I’m 25, and I never want to experience the pain these people feel. I never want to know what it’s like to get that text or have to make that phone call myself. But in this world we are currently living in it would be foolish to believe it could never happen to me. No one ever thinks it will happen to them until it does. Write, Tweet, Call, go see your representatives. They’re supposed to be there FOR the people, so tell them what you think, remind them what is at stake and make them realize that something has to be done to prevent any more people from dying like this. March, when they’re, is a march, get informed, get involved. Go out and VOTE! Find out who supports the NRA or anyone who is sitting around doing nothing, and stop supporting them yourself. We might not have our own seats at the table, but we can make our voices heard just the same. Be bold, Be loud, Stay Classy but honest. We can find a way to stop it, we just have to be loud enough.