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.
To contact Editor-in-Chief Brinley Hineman, email firstname.lastname@example.org.