Columns, Opinion

American Protest: U.S. needs more awareness and legislation to prevent mass shootings, not less

In addition to pencils, pens, notebooks and excitement to see friends, students are bringing new supplies to school this year: a bulletproof backpack and the fear of being gunned down.

This is the reality of being a student in America. Every parent sending their child to school in the coming weeks will do so with the worry that this year it will be their child’s school — or worse, their child — in the news.

It is too easy for those who want to kill masses to do so and I cannot understand why people are fighting to let this continue. No parent should have to send a child off to school wondering if it is the day that their child will not come home.

Among the chaos of the recent weeks’ several mass shootings, students in Montclair, New Jersey painted a mural depicting children with targets on their back and the words “Never Again.” Some parents and local residents are protesting the mural, claiming it spreads negativity.

New Jersey citizens are “concerned about the impact of [kids] walking through this gateway to school every day and seeing themselves portrayed as targets and victims,” according to an article from Montclair Local.

The fear of young kids seeing this mural does not protect them from potential school shootings where kids are in fact victims. This mural shows the reality of our country’s national emergency and we cannot hide it.

We must stop tiptoeing around the truth. Art statements like this mural are important and while they may be difficult to think about, children dying in school shootings is exactly what needs to be thought about in order to enact change.

Beyond social statements, something needs to be done. Legislation will not get passed if we all choose to bury our heads in the sand. To ignore the desperate need for gun control is to put more children in an early grave this school year.

The fact that we are still fighting for stricter gun laws after 53 mass shooting deaths in August alone is disgusting. This problem is not going to solve itself and our government and citizens will be seen as complacent in this crisis by future generations if we do not act. 

While some states are taking on their own stricter gun laws, such as strict background checks and prohibiting the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines, there is nothing stopping anyone from crossing a state border and buying a gun.

Walmart selling bullet-proof backpacks — in the same stores that they sell firearms — shows we have a real problem in this country and the solution is easy if we put our kids first.

The Second Amendment is not being threatened and it’s likely there will never be an all-out ban on guns. Claiming that all guns will be banned is simply a fear tactic to prevent any gun control, even when it saves lives. Basic gun control is not an outlandish or unconstitutional concept. Many other countries have adopted legislation to limit gun use because they care about the lives of their citizens. It is time our country starts caring too. 

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