On Feb.13, intelligence agencies across the nation were working with Congress on the worldwide threat assessment, focusing on lowering foreign terrorism and organized crime. The next day in Parkland, Florida, 17 lives were taken within the blink of an eye, not due to foreign terrorism or organized crime – but by the hands of one American citizen.
There have been countless posts on social media, arguments in news editorials and an overall debate in this country on what actions should be taken in the wake of the most recent tragedy. As the aftermath of the latest mass shooting continues to take place, there are some proponents worth expanding on further.
A gun may as well be a knife
A popular defense of the supporters of the Second Amendment is if guns are banned, or even more closely regulated, then you must also look at knives and other items capable of destruction.
One article circulating the day following the Parkland school shooting was entitled “33 Dead, 130 Injured in China Knife-Wielding Spree.” Despite the fact that this instance took place in 2014, not conveniently the day after a gun-related massacre, one must only read the lead to discover this was a group effort.
One man alone did not manage to do that extent of damage with one knife on a crowded train platform. Since 1996, firearms have been tightly controlled in China, and in comparison to America, has significantly less gun-related deaths.
Unlike China, a vast majority of those who are proponents of gun control are not trying to take away handguns for personal protection, but rather end the ability to have a military-style weapon.
However, when word of reform in gun control is brought up, people seem to think that supporters of gun control want to leave everyone defenseless.
“I don’t see why people think they need a military-grade weapon when those weapons are designed to cause harm and take the lives of others,” freshman health science major Cassandra Koll said.
It’s not a gun issue; it’s a mental health issue
So let’s get this straight. Rather than adopt gun safety measures that other countries have successfully implemented, you’d rather tackle the heavily intricate and stigmatized issue of mental health?
Our country can hardly get a foothold on healthcare for physical ailments, so the concern should not be on restructuring the mental health industry.
A common argument amongst gun supporters is if you take away guns, there will be a black market where the people who really want them will still be able to purchase them illegally. Exactly. This includes those with mental health issues, so you unknowingly took the opposing stance. Thus it no longer becomes a problem of the person pulling the trigger, but rather the fact that the gun itself exists with menial penalties.
“I can see both sides of the argument, but when it comes to stuff like this, I find it hard to find the gray area,” junior psychology major Mariela Jasso said. “When lives are being lost, and it’s becoming an epidemic, [we] need to be more black and white about things like this.”
Harassment of student activists
After having to deal with the traumatizing losses of 17 of their peers, now students at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School who have chosen to speak out are being accused of acting. Articles across various social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have claimed that students were “crisis actors” who had been paid to use the Parkland shooting as a way to “advocate their gun control agendas.”
Are we forgetting that these students had to witness the murders of their friends just a couple of weeks ago? They have every right to speak out on this issue and be upset. They are not doing this for some sort of political agenda; they are doing this because after losing so many of their fellow students, they want to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.
The harassment of the students has gotten so out of hand, that some have had to shut down or temporarily get off of their social media accounts. Cameron Kasky, a survivor of the Parkland shooting who has spoken out for gun control, had to temporarily leave Facebook because of the overwhelming number of death threats he was receiving from anti-gun control advocates. However, many people also think the backlash the teenagers are receiving is absolutely ridiculous.
“I feel like that their standing up now is definitely a start to a bigger movement,” sophomore music and entertainment industry major Tony Breownez said. “And that they’re standing up for themselves this young, it’s definitely a good sign. It’s a learning process for both sides. They’re learning how to properly protest and speak their mind when it comes to this issue and the public is also learning … ultimately, it’s a positive thing.”
One attack in particular is when Florida Officer Scot Peerson defended the police officer who refused to enter the building, saying he wouldn’t want to be on the other end of a rifle either. Many refute this stance, but the criticism from the public has been intense.
“I feel like while it is a dangerous situation, the police officer should have gone in there because that is his duty, and it is what he signed up to do,” freshman sports communication major Ben Line-Neumann said.
Giving teachers guns
Another answer that politicians have presented is to arm teachers with guns in the classroom to “protect” students. While this is a highly debated idea, other states have already allowed school staff to carry guns on campus. For example, the state of Texas allows at least 170 school districts that allow school employees to carry firearms.
One Texas native at Bradley, Nina Bui, a sophomore education major, said, “As a future educator, I feel as if putting guns in schools puts my life and others in even more danger rather than protecting them. Rather than giving out more guns, they need to ban guns such as the AR-15 that are what causes these mass killings.”
In response to this argument, teachers on Twitter started a campaign using the hashtag #ArmMeWith to express the many other practical ways to protect students rather than weapons. In this campaign, teachers have expressed the need for resources for students with mental health issues, a safe classroom, proper government funding and so much more.
If you are a high school student worried about having your disciplinary actions from peaceful protests affecting your admissions status to colleges, know Bradley will not penalize you. Additionally, if you feel strongly about this issue, join students, staff and faculty on the walkout March 8.