It’s Time to Demand an End to Gun Violence

What can we do now to prevent the past events from repeating?

action.momsrising.org

Savannah Winstead, Fashion & Lifestyle Editor

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As time moves on and technology advances, violence grows. New weapons are created and are readily available to the public. The same weapons used by the military are allowed in our homes. Why is having military weapons in our households so normalized in our society?

On average, 13,000 people die from an act of gun violence each year according to EverytownResearch.org. We’ve had 29 mass shootings this year alone and we’re not even halfway through the year. We were still processing the 49 Harvest music festival shooting, when 17 more lives were stolen during the Feb. 14 Parkland school shooting.

America is the only country that has to deal with mass shootings on this level; all the other countries that experience mass shootings are usually at war. Australia had 13 mass shootings within the time frame of 1979- 1996. In 1996 a gunman killed 35 people with a semi automatic weapon.  This became the turning point for Australia. Former Prime Minister Tim Fischer reacted at the time by enacting stricter gun control laws. These laws made most guns illegal to own, imposed a mandatory gun buyback that substantially reduced gun possession in Australia and made using a gun in self defense a crime. Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting since 1996. The country’s violence and robbery rate is half of America’s.

I feel personally affected by school shootings because it can happen anywhere, at any school. It’s time we stop talking about change and demand action, or else mass shootings will continue to be normalized in our society. Teenagers around the country are speaking up and demanding change now. The Women’s March’s Youth EMPOWER group is planning a national school walkout on March 14 and the Parkland students organized a March for Our Lives on March 24 in cities across the nation.

Student leaders at Hylton met with Principal Cassady on Feb 27 to find peaceful and safe opportunities to commemorate the tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Columbine.  Together they organized activities for both observances on March 14 and April 20.  Administration approved a facilitated student walkout on April 20.  Despite the planned and approved observances, some students still walked out of class following the moment of silence on March 14. Students who left class were marked absent from that class and were marked tardy if they arrived late to their next class.  Senior Silas Sneed said, “I’m extremely proud of my peers for voicing their opinions.  Even though we may not agree all the time, I’m proud that we can come together and exercise our 1st amendment.”

Prince William County Schools Superintendent Dr. Steven Walts said in a statement to parents and students on Feb. 22 that he expects that “principals will work with students and staff to identify a reasonable number of ‘right’ approaches for each school.”  Dr. Walts shared that the school division will “work to find ways to let you (students) do that without violating any PWCS rules or disrupting teaching and learning.”

It is apparent that we need new gun laws if we want change. Without effort, traumatic events like mass shootings are going to continue to happen. If taking away guns won’t help, maybe adding guns where needed and in the right hands will. It’s hard to understand why anyone would still be against stricter gun control laws. I fail to understand how someone can choose their own personal interest over the safety and security of all the people around them. The people in power need to look at all available choices, listen to the people and make a decision soon. Gun violence can happen anywhere at any time to anyone and it affects all of us. 

Click the link here to view statistics on school shootings from 2014 to now.

About the Writer
Savannah Winstead, Fashion & Lifestyle Editor

Savannah Winstead is a graduating senior at C.D. Hylton Senior High School. This past year, Winstead has grown to become more outspoken with her opinions and is proud to stand up for what she believes in. She loves fashion and styling. This fall, Savannah will be on her way to New York City where she will attend The Laboratory Institute of Merchandising College to study fashion marketing and merchandising. Winstead plans to become a fashion editor when she gets older.

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