Last year, I wrote a column for The Maneater on gun control and a lobbyist organization, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, that was formed after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. At the time, I thought it would be the only story I would write on gun control. However, after the nation was shattered over the last few weeks with a shooting occurring practically every single day, I decided that maybe it was time to revisit the issue.
Since Jan. 9, there have been at least seven shootings at schools around the country. Possibly, the most tragic of all occurred on Jan. 14 at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, N.M., where a 12-year-old gunman open fired and seriously wounded two young students. Besides the school tragedies, there was a number of shootings that occurred at other locations, including a movie theater, a supermarket and, most recently, a mall in Columbia, Md. From these 10 shootings, 13 people were wounded, with a majority still in critical condition, and eight people were killed, one of which was a suicide by the gunman.
While I was reading through news articles detailing each of the shootings, the one that came off as the most shocking to me occurred on Jan. 13 in a Florida movie theater. The 43-year-old victim was texting his daughter during the movie’s previews when a 71-year-old man started an argument with him about putting his phone away. The argument escalated, and the elderly man shot and killed the victim.
What kind of world are we living in when texting our daughters, sons, parents or friends could end in brutality? What does that say about us as Americans, or even as humans? And since when are seven school shootings in a period of two weeks an acceptable number? Shouldn’t we be ashamed as a nation that we are subjecting young children to such disturbing violence?
Essance Sosa, a 12-year-old student at Berrendo Middle School, witnessed the shooting of two fellow classmates by a peer. When describing the incident she said, “I just saw blood everywhere. Everyone started screaming and running.” A picture as grotesque as this is something that no one, no matter what the age, should have to witness.
As all of these events unfold disturbingly, there is one question we must ask ourselves: When will our nation’s leaders begin to act? 2013 saw a rally to fight for stricter gun control, yet nothing seems to have changed. In fact, just after looking at the events of the past few weeks, more people are being affected by gun violence now than ever before.
How many more people must be killed in order for President Obama and Congress to take initiative? Does knowing that young children’s blood is being shed in such a violent manner not mean anything to them? Now, more than ever, is the time we must call on our leaders to take action. We must raise our voices like never before to let them know that we, as United States citizens, will not stand for one more person being wounded or killed at the mercy of a gun.
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