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Editorial: Calling for action honors victims of shootings

Sandy Hook. Columbine. Virginia Tech. These are words that should be known as havens for education, but instead, they bring memories of fear, dismay and death.

A 19-year-old killed 17 people and wounded 15 more at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday, according to CNN.

People were horrified, but honestly, not shocked. The idea of school shootings has lost the shock factor. We are so used to hearing about gun violence that we just expect another mass shooting to happen. But we should not get numb to this news. We need to be angry and upset so something will change.

In a Washington Post analysis, 21 deaths in mass shootings have been recorded so far in 2018. Since Aug. 1, 1966, 150 shootings with four or more deaths have occurred in the United States, claiming 1,077 total victims ranging from 8 months to 98 years old.

According to CNN, 18 of the 30 deadliest shootings in the U.S. since 1949 have occurred in the last 10 years.

President Trump tweeted “my prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting” Wednesday. Many other politicians echoed his sentiments, sending prayers to the families of the deceased. 

“Thoughts and prayers” offered by politicians rolling in money they received from the National Rifle Association do not help. Actions do.

If you are a religious person, the U.S. could use prayers, lots of them. But we also need action. We need the leaders of our country to step up and do something about these terrible events. And that does not include placing the blame on mental health issues.

For those who will say in response to this notion, “well then find something to fix shootings,” that is why we elect representatives to serve in Washington, D.C. They need to figure out the solution to this, or else we, as American voters, need to replace them with people who will.

The shooter in Parkland, Florida, from Wednesday used an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. The shooter in Las Vegas last year used a bump-stock on his rifle to make it shoot semi-automatic. 

There is no reason to own an automatic weapon.

Unless someone is planning on committing an act of war and killing multiple people, these weapons serve no extra purpose. Hunting can be done with other weapons. Bambi’s family is not out to kill you, so you do not need to slaughter the whole forest.

Let us repeat, automatic weapons are only for doing harm.

Since the tragedy, some people have asked for common sense gun regulations, which people on the Right have deemed as “politicizing” the deaths. Changing the gun regulations in this country is what should be talked about when something like this happens.

Recently, a selection of American teenagers have been eating and almost dying from Tide Pods. The next week after this trend began, lawmakers introduced legislation to make it harder for teenagers to get Tide Pods. That is not politicizing. It is an appropriate response. We need an appropriate response to gun tragedies. 

This is not a political issue on either political side, as they both are trying to make it seem. This is a United States issue. Ignoring the problem until the next national tragedy would be disrespecting the ones killed. The proper way to honor them would be to make sure this happens less often.

On the mental illness side of this issue, yes, that is also something that needs better care in this country. But having a mental illness does not make you mutilate scores of innocent people.

One in five Americans, or about 62 million of the 323 million total U.S. citizens, lives with some mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and one in 25 Americans has a very serious mental illness. However, one in five, or even one in 25, people are not deranged lunatics trying to kill people.

This is a rhetoric that isolates those with mental illnesses, and we as a country cannot let our politicians blame the mentally ill as a whole for these events.

We do not have the solution, whether it is better gun control, adequate school security or more mental health awareness. But something needs to be done because the country should not be this violent. 

No one is trying to confiscate your guns, Republicans. Common sense gun control is about just that. Common sense.

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