Are gun concerns falling on deaf ears?
According to an Associated Press article issued Wednesday, President Donald Trump planned to host students from the Florida high school reeling from a mass shooting last week.
The White House said students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School would be attending the late Wednesday “listening session,” along with people from groups representing Sandy Hook and Columbine survivors. The goal is an “open discussion on how we can keep our students safe.”
In addition, the president told reporters Tuesday, “we must do more to protect our children.”
We couldn’t agree more. The time for talk has come and gone — now is the time for action. We have heard enough of the hollow responses of “thoughts and prayers” that always follow these senseless killings. Thoughts and prayers aren’t getting it done, and the outcry from the survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School echo the feelings of so many in this country — enough is enough.
The Washington Post reported Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida gave a speech on the Senate floor after the shooting, stating “if someone has decided ‘I’m going to commit this crime,’ they’re going to find a way to do it.”
This comment makes a lot of sense, considering that Rubio has been the beneficiary of $3,303,355 in campaign spending by the National Rifle Association — sixth highest among current members of Congress — according to a Los Angeles Times article.
It’s due time for politicians like Rubio to prove their positions on this issue aren’t bought and paid for. If you truly care about justice for the victims of this terrible tragedy, stop sitting on your hands and act.
“We’re what’s making the change. We’re going to talk to these politicians. … We’re going to keep pushing until something is done because people are dying and this can’t happen anymore,” said Alfonso Calderon, a 16-year-old junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, at a gathering of about 100 students Wednesday at the Florida Capitol.
Trump tweeted Tuesday night, “Whether we are Republican or Democrats, we must now focus on strengthening Background Checks!”
In that regard, he is right. When it affects our children — the future of this country — gun control is a nonpartisan issue. This has become an epidemic-level problem in America, and we need to stop the bleeding.
The Washington Post reported that a recent study of World Health Organization data published in the American Journal of Medicine that found, among high-income nations, 91 percent of children younger than 15 who were killed by bullets lived in the United States.
These trends are only continuing their upward slope.
On average, two dozen children are shot every day in the United States, and in 2016 more youths were killed by gunfire — 1,637 — than during any previous year this millennium.
It’s important to note that no one is calling for a complete ban on weapons — we are calling for students to be able to attend school without fearing for their lives. We are not calling for anyone to do away with the Second Amendment — we simply want it to be recognized that there is a very big problem that is not being addressed, and the firearm policies in this country have to change. These are problems that even teenagers are able to realize — in large part because they are the ones who are still expected to attend classes as these mass shootings continue to take place, while lawmakers refuse to take action of any kind.
There is a very critical message to be heard in Wednesday’s “listening session” at the White House — the perspective of the ever-growing group of people who didn’t hear about the story on the news, but lived it firsthand. We need to hear the voices of those who have lost children, siblings, friends or parents and then watched as America’s gun policies remained exactly the same — as though these horrific events never even took place.