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TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OUT OF SENSELESSNESS

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A shooting. It happened again. Did you know that a gun
has gone off on a school campus 18 times in 2018? It’s
only February. Now granted, not all of these instances
resulted in casualties—and some of them took place out
of school hours—but the fact remains that people went
to a school. And they had a firearm. By the way, that last
piece of information I got from a Washington Post article.
The latest in a string of shootings that started years
and years ago occurred in Parkland, Florida at the
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. On February
14, a 19-year-old former student (he had been expelled)
walked into the school and opened fire. According to an
article by NBC, the assailant used a semi-automatic rifle
during the shooting, which resulted in 17 people killed
and 14 people injured. And USA Today stated that the
gunman—whose name I refuse to state because I won’t
give him any attention—had been expelled from the
school due to fighting. The same article by USA Today
also stated that the attacker pulled the fire alarm before
starting his attack, resulting in more people flooding the
school hallways. According to an article by PBS News
Hour “Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said, after speaking with
the FBI, that the suspect “set off the fire alarm so the
kids would come out of the classrooms.” This leads me
to believe that he had planned the entire thing. This is an
assumption, and I can never prove it, but I don’t think it’s
a far-fetched one.
Now, I conducted research on the shooting and on the
assailant and what I found was disturbing. First of all,
according to an article by the LA Times, the shooter had
been receiving treatment for mental health issues at a
clinic but “had not been to the clinic for more than year.”
That same article also stated that students and police
described him as “a loner, troubled and depressed”, that
he had been abusive towards his ex-girlfriend, that he
had a fight with her current boyfriend and that he was living
with family friends after the death of his mother. More
frightening was the fact that, according to the LA Times,
an Instagram account under his name consisted of “photos
of a young man wearing U.S. Army hats posing with
guns and knives”, he often “talked about background
checks and plans to purchase a rifle” and, according to
an article by NBC, “a YouTube user who used the same
name as the suspected Florida gunman was investigated
by the FBI for a comment boasting about plans to shoot
up a school,”. Unfortunately, I am unsure if anything
came about as a result of the complaint the original
uploader of the video sent to the FBI and it is unclear if
this commenter was the attacker.
All of this should have been a cause for concern.
Unfortunately there is that situation of ‘how can we stop
something from happening before it even happens?” We
have to keep our eyes and ears open for any suspicious
behavior. If you see or hear something troubling, report
it. There were so many signs that this gunman would
commit such a horrific act. So why wasn’t he reported?
Why wasn’t he looked into? And if he had been going to a
mental health clinic, it meant he had some type of mental
health issues, so why could he purchase a gun?
I conducted some research on gun control in America
and found an article by DW which provided eight key
facts regarding it. I found out that people have to be
18 to buy shotguns, rifles or ammunition, 21 to buy all
other firearms, and that “fugitives, peopled deemed a
danger to society and patients involuntarily committed
to mental institutions” can’t buy weapons. Furthermore,
background checks are in place and guns cannot be sold
to people who “have been found guilty of unlawfully possessing
or using controlled substances within the past
year. Even further, twelve of the 50 states require permits
to buy handguns, and three—California, Connecticut
and Hawaii—require permits to buy rifles and shotguns.
However, with that said, “most states require permits
to carry handguns” but “some states allow residents
to carry handguns without permits.” And added to this,
“virtually no state requires a permit to carry rifles and
shotguns.”
This in and of itself is an issue, but then there is the
‘gunshow loophole’. It was stated in the DW article that:
“According to the ATF (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives), anyone can sell a gun without
an FFL (Federal Firearms License) from their home,
online, at a flea market or at a gun show as long as he or
she is not conducting the sale as part of regular business
activity”. So what does this mean? It means that people
who wouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun can now get their
hands on one. And why is this even possible?
“Why” is all we can ask. The gun control debate has
been talked about for years. And unfortunately we are
not any closer to finding a solution. Because we cannot
come to an agreement. People say it’s a mental health
issue, people say it’s a second amendment right to bear
arms, people say that we cannot ban guns because
criminals will get their hands on them anyway. People
say, if you get rid of guns the criminals will find something
else to use, people say “guns don’t kill people, people kill
people.” All of this is true. But with the amount of innocent
people—men, women and children—who are dying,
year by year, due to gun violence—can’t we all agree
that something must be done? This may be my naivety
speaking, but why does it seem as if America has more
gun-related deaths compared to any other country?
The biggest issue is, I don’t know what we can do to
make this stop. If a person obtains a gun legally, we don’t
know what they will do with it after the buy it. We cannot
stop a person from selling a gun at one of these socalled
“gunshows”. When I mention gun control, people
ask me “what do I propose we do” and, honestly, I don’t
know. I DON’T KNOW. But what I do know is that we
CANNOT keep seeing people die. It’s not right.
I’m tired of it all. Aren’t you? I’m worried we will get
to the point where we are apathetic to the entire situation.
People should not go into movie theaters, schools,
churches and other public places and lose their lives.
Children should not go to school and never come home
again. A parent should not be burying their child because
we cannot change the way this country views guns and
makes it quite easy for anyone to get their hands on one.
There will always be bad people in the world. But we
have to work together and educate ourselves, so that it
is extremely difficult—even impossible—for these bad
people to commit these acts.

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