Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News, NY

Dirges in the Dark

Guns, Probability, and Anxiety

We Americans need to ask ourselves a simple question. What do we value more: our communities and schools, or our beloved guns? This is the issue that has brought hundreds of thousands of students and adults out into the streets to lead our Congress to the right decision.

On March 14, students across America marched to ban the AR-15 and other semi-automatic weapons like it, as well as to memorialize the victims of the Parkland and Sandy Hook shootings. As most of us know, the AR-15 is one of the most commonly used weapons in mass shootings in our country.

While protesting students and adults are fighting to put a ban on the AR-15 and other weapons like this, our Congress is more focused on banning bump stocks, which is a device that gives a non-automatic gun the ability to work as an automatic gun. But this seems to be a cover-up, a way for our government to show that it is enforcing “stricter” gun laws. In reality, would this ban on bump stocks have stopped the 17 deaths in the Parkland shooting? As much as we would like to think our government is listening to students all around the U.S., as of right now, it hasn’t passed any laws or regulations, and hasn’t set any plans for any real changes for the foreseeable future.

As a junior high student, even though the probability is low, the thought of a shooter coming onto my school’s campus is always in the back of my mind. Knowing how available AR-15 like rifles are has added a new level of anxiety whenever I’m at school. I can’t get over the fact that our government would rather have such guns available to the public than ensure safety for students and communities all over America. My fellow students and I expect a sense of safety, both physically and mentally, from our government. But allowing AR-15 like guns available for practically anyone over 18 years of age does not provide this. Instead of spending money on weapons to hurt others, we should be spending our money on improving our education system and ensuring safety for students.

Now, what should be our government’s job has become our job. It is now up to us to fight for safety and the end of gun violence. Our government officials cannot seem to wrap their minds around the fact that we will not let up. We will not stop fighting until we get our basic and fundamental right to safety that we should have at our schools and at all the public places in our communities.

So here’s a note to the “leader” of our nation, President Trump: While you’re off playing golf, we students are taking the lead.

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