Too often, when you raise the issue of guns in this country, it starts a debate with both sides pointing the blame at each other. In the middle, we hear the voices of children who’ve witnessed the killing of their friends and teachers and who are sounding out for action. The question is, will we listen to them? Will we care enough to do something? Horrific tragedies like the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a little under a year ago is something that concerns every one of us, regardless of political party or beliefs. Sadly, it is something that could happen to any community, family, or school. This is why it’s so important that the sympathy that unites us all must come to the front of our discussion as we try to stop these tragedies from ever happening again. On February 14th, 17 lives were lost in Parkland, Florida when a previous classmate brought an AR-15 to school and opened fire on the students and teachers. He used a weapon that he had bought legally – but he shouldn’t have been able to.
A school resource officer initially recommended committing Nikolas Cruz over mental health concerns about 18 months before Cruz shot students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.. According to documents obtained by CNN, school resource officer Scot Peterson wanted to send him to a mental facility after the then-student supposedly made threats against himself and others. Lynda Cruz, his adoptive mother who died from pneumonia in November 2017, told mental health inspectors in 2016 that her son experienced ADHD, depression, and autism but said he received his medication,, according to the report. She told inspectors at the time that her son did not own a gun besides an air gun that she had taken away when he “didn’t follow house rules about only shooting it within the backyard at the targets.” All these people don’t want to end all access to guns, they simply want to keep guns from hands of mentally ill or with a criminal record. Emma Gonzalez, a Parkland shooting survivor said “At the end of the day, we don’t want people to have their guns taken away. We just want the people to be more responsible.
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We want civilians to have to go through more rolls of red tape to get what they want, because if any of that tape can stop those who shouldn’t own a gun from owning a gun, then our government will have done something right. This should not be a political issue. People on both sides of this debate felt pain and sadness as we lost 17 lives in Parkland. The only way we can solve the problems is by recognizing that we are all Americans, and we all want secure communities–a place where we can support our families, where children aren’t met with the fear of a shooting when they go to school every day. We must stop blaming each other, and instead, respect each other, and work together to find common ground. It is up to each and every one of us to choose whether we will act in love and light or darkness and hate. By focusing on the love and care that we have for one another, we can bring about real change.
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