Opinion: Keep your prayers, I want action

It’s been several days since the deadly shooting that occurred at Douglas High School in Florida. Since then, many prayers were lifted in name of the victims and those affected by the massacre, but many elected officials are still scratching their heads, pretending to believe that the issue of gun violence isn’t related to guns at all, citing mental health concerns that are blatantly ignored by those same elected officials.  

When discussing the United States, terms like “the American dream” and “the land of opportunity” are usually used in the same sentence. Recently, however, America is becoming more synonymous with gun violence, as school shootings are occurring at an unprecedented rate while Republican lawmakers sit idly by, happily accepting fat checks from the National Rifle Association, offering little more than thoughts and prayers in the face of gun-related tragedies.

According to the Chicago Tribune, between the years 2000-2010, 57 school shootings occurred in 36 countries. 28 of those incidents occurred in the United States alone.

Let that sink in.

138 people have been killed by gun-related incidents at schools since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, yet action has yet to be taken by lawmakers to curb the growing number of deaths that occur at the hands of school shooters.

September 11, 2001: thousands lost their lives at the hands of Islamic extremists. Since then airports have tightened security restrictions. Muslims and people of color have faced extreme prejudice, flat-out racism and have fallen victim to hate crimes. President Donald J. Trump even seeks to ban people hailing from countries in the Middle East from visiting America or gaining citizenship. The entire world reacted all at once to the tragedy that occured on American soil.

“Never again,” promised a multitude of politicians, as they bowed their heads to pray and offer condolences.

Their prayers had legs.

Here we are, nearly two decades later, and the perceived enemy is now among us, but instead of bearing the name terrorist, they get sympathetic titles like “misfit” or “lone wolf.” We live in a country that proudly boasts freedom, yet many elected officials don’t think that being free of the fear of death by a lone wolf, misfit school shooter is worth tightening gun laws.

In this new age of school shootings and increased gun violence, parents send their children off to the bus stop each day with their lunch, their completed homework and the silent prayer and wish that they may return home safely when the school dismissal bell rings out.

It’s been several days since the Florida shooting. The second amendment — written when muskets could fire only three rounds a minute — has been proudly cited by a plethora of lawmakers who find comfort in their complacency of allowing American children to be slaughtered as sacrificial lambs so anyone who wants access to a deadly weapon can have it.

But at least we have their prayers.

This article was written for the Onsite Op-Ed Competition at the Southeastern Journalism Conference where it won 2nd place. This is an opinion, written from the perspective of the writer and does not reflect the views of Sidelines or MTSU.

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To contact Editor-in-Chief Brinley Hineman, email editor@mtsusidelines.com.

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2 Responses

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  1. cmtsu
    Feb 21, 2018 - 01:45 PM

    Since the start of 2018, there have already been a handful of school shootings all across the United States of America. As a college student, it is troublesome to hear about this. I fear for my own safety when attending class, which has never been something I used to worry about. School shootings are becoming more and more frequent all throughout America, and something needs to be done about it. I can understand both sides of the argument when it comes to gun control. The right to bear arms is a right given to every American, however, I believe better background checks need to be done in order for one to obtain a gun. It is so important to look at not only the person who will be owning the gun, but the others who will live in the same house as the person who owns the gun. That way, it will be more difficult for a gun to land in the wrong hands. I also think more people need to secure their guns in a locked safe, that is kept out of sight. Overall, there definitely needs to be a change in the way our laws are set. Otherwise, there will be more and more school shootings as the months go on.

  2. JSmtsuspring18
    Feb 23, 2018 - 02:31 PM

    Gun Violence at schools has been a growing problem as the years have proceeded and something needs to be done now! There should be zero of these incidents but unfortunately, not everyone is mentally stable with too many people choosing to create violence. Here are just a few things that can and should be done to limit or possibly eliminate this problem.

    Safety should be the first priority at every school, this means a drastic increase in the amount of security. Every school should have some kind of metal detector at each entrance with armed security guards to stand by and make sure absolutely no problems occur. This will get rid of a student/civilian from entering with any kind of dangerous weapon. Multiple Police Officers should also be posted in multiple places around the school for the entirety of the day. This will allow the officer to look for suspicious activity and prevent any random stranger from creating any unwanted violence.

    Something else that needs to be done, taking place outside of the school, is a very intense background check of everyone purchasing a gun. I think it should go deeper than just the individual buying a gun. There needs to be a bigger look into the history and background of the family, who else is continuously in the house, and if there is a history of violent behavior. Some kind of gun safe should also be mandatory at every house, with proof. Someone of authority should be sent to the house to have a safety check. I know this may seem to limit citizen’s freedoms, but safety is too important.

    This seriously needs to stop!! There is plenty more that could be done on top of the things I have just presented.


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