The student newspaper of Nicholls State University

Personal Opinion: On violence

February 19, 2018

In light of last Wednesday’s tragedy where a gunman took the lives of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I feel that it is important to take a step back and look at the nation we live in. After a disaster like this, some people are quick to throw blame at one another, hoping change will come around. Some people use this as a time to single out mental health illnesses as the root of so much terror. Yet, still some people use other’s suffering as a platform to proclaim that this is simply a consequence of living among inherent evil. None of this is factual.

Three of the ten deadliest shootings in modern US history have occurred within the past five months. That is factual. What is also factual is that the United States is now one of the deadliest nations to grow up in. What this divided nation needs is not to fear evil or cast blame, but to enact change in whatever way we can, regardless of who we are.

In this country, I can’t buy a beer at a bar, but I can walk into any gun store and leave that same day with a weapon capable of ending lives when in the wrong hands. The reality of this situation is that discussing “gun control” is long overdue. How many more mass-killings will it take for someone to actually take the steps needed to make this place safer? Because as much as we want to believe that such horrors would never reach our part of the country, we should all recognize by now that we are not immune to disaster.

I want to make one thing clear: no, I do not hate guns. No, I do not want to get rid of everyone’s guns. No, I do not want to abolish the Second Amendment. And no, I do not have my own version of a plan to control and monitor the availability and accessibility of weapons in the United States. That responsibility shouldn’t have to fall on the backs of teenagers. We should not have to worry about our safety when going to class.

I want to live in a place where this sort of violent crime is no longer occurring on what feels like a monthly basis. I want to live in a place where I don’t feel endangered, not only by the actions of dangerous individuals, but by the complete inaction of a government that simply seems content with offering thumbs up as condolences. What is needed is a method to the madness that is daily civilian life in the United States.

As a son and a brother, I understand that yes, evil will always be present in our country. We do not have the privilege of living in a world free of crime, but what we do have is the privilege and the freedom to speak and to call for change. We must not let our voices be drowned out by violence and apathy. If we can learn anything at all from this disaster, it’s that our voices matter now more than ever. Until we have a solution to the violence that continuously occurs throughout the country, I, as well as the hundreds of thousands of other students out there, will not remain silent. This is not a Republican issue. This is not a Democratic issue. This is an American issue.

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