You wave goodbye to your ninth-grader as they walk into school on what appears to be a normal Wednesday, but you don’t know it will be the last time you ever see your precious child.
Later that day, a gunman carrying an AR-15 style, semi-automatic rifle and multiple magazines entered the school and indiscriminately killed students and faculty. Among the victims were 14 students and three staff members.
The Stoneman Douglas High School shooting was the deadliest shooting at a high school in United States history.
It also marks the event that led to the death of America’s morals.
The day we allowed 17 innocent students and faculty to be senselessly murdered in their own school is the day we abandoned our commitment to upholding basic human rights, starting with the right to live.
These acts of tragedy have continued to destroy our country. This past weekend, 11 people were killed in a shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh while peacefully attending services.
Saturday’s mass shooting marks the 294th mass shooting of 2018.
Purchasing a gun in America is almost as easy as buying groceries. In a majority of states, gun sellers aren’t required to perform a background check, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Forty percent of guns sold in the U.S. are sold with “no questions asked,” according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Business Insider reported that in the U.S., there are approximately 50,271 more gun stores than McDonald’s. The minimal background checks and convenience allow for an obscene volume of guns to circulate around the country, in some cases in the hands of the wrong people.
Easy accessibility to guns and the military style, semi-automatic power of some of this machinery causes the perfect storm for the merciless mass killings of concertgoers, people at church or those walking down the street.
So, why haven’t Americans — namely, Congress — done anything to limit gun-related incidents? Why weren’t the events of Stoneman Douglas enough to put an end to America’s gun violence?
The U.K. was victim to a similar situation in 1996. A gunman unloaded his handguns on children and faculty at Dunblane Primary School, killing 16 first-graders. The U.K. had never experienced a massacre as this brutal before. The nation was struck with grief, anger and shock.
The debate surrounded the perpetrator’s access to such destructive weapons when he was known for unusual behavior. Petitions were drafted in support of a total ban on private ownership and use of handguns.
The aftermath of Dunblane caused Prime Minister John Major to pass stricter gun laws. The result was the Firearms Act of 1997, which banned all cartridge ammunition handguns, except .22 single-shot weapons. The following year, the law was tightened further, and the remaining .22 cartridge handguns were also banned.
Now, the U.K. has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world, according to The New York Times. According to the article, in England, only about one in every million people die from gun-related incidents each year, which is “about as often as an American dies in an agricultural accident or falling from a ladder,” according to the same article.
We need to look at the U.K.’s fast response and learn from it — before more people die.
Gun violence has been normalized in American society so much so that we have become numb to it, and the lack of governmental response perpetuates the endless cycle. We need to demand more from our representatives. We cannot sit back and allow the people we love to be victims of gun violence.
Emma Dillon, ’20, is an assistant news editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected]