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Taking a Stance on Gun Violence

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I’m always one to try to understand something from both sides. Just this week, I started to read a book by Alan Dershowitz that strictly states the case for Israel, regarding the conflict in the Middle East. My plans upon completion include finding another book that will provide only the Palestinian argument. I think that seeing two sides of a topic mitigates intransigence, reducing the odds of polarization and/or violence. Since the tragedy at Parkland on Valentine’s Day, I have been trying to see the situation from both sides. I have listened to countless acrimonious disputes on the radio, and have even tried listening to Conservative podcasts. With this issue, though, my liberal, “fake news” parochialism is boundless. I cannot, and will not, see two sides.

After watching the Parkland community gathering on CNN, a statement by a recently childless mother resonated with me. She pointed out that the NRA’s puppets are more infatuated with the Second Amendment than they are with our inalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” stated in the Declaration of Independence. This made me think: Our Founding Fathers, though estimable and brilliant, also had faults. They wrote that African Americans were ⅗ of a person (while staunchly believing that they were merely property), and deemed women innately unfit to participate in politics. And, like everybody else, our framers were not future-tellers. Conceding this obvious fact, our Founding Fathers placed the Elastic Clause into Article I Section 8 into our Constitution, giving Congress the power to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers.” The men, knowing about nothing more deadly than a musket, could not predict the preposterous malignancy of guns in our present-day world.

Our legal system is conspicuously flawed.

As I perused social media to find news on the event, I stumbled across a Pro-Life advertisement on Senator Marco Rubio’s Instagram. Underneath a photo of a sleeping baby lay his words: “I believe no human right is more fundamental and more sacred than the right to life.” I am not cynical enough to believe that someone who disagrees with my views is evil; I do not believe that Senator Rubio wants students to die. I do, however, believe that his position on guns is untenable as a man who should ostensibly be a service to the governed. As aforementioned, I try to understand both sides to every story. From what I have collected, several Republicans and the NRA have been blaming much of American gun violence on “toxic masculinity”, mental illness, and failure on accounts of the FBI. Though this particular school shooter lacked a fatherly figure, was terribly lonesome, and suffered from mental illness, I refuse to believe that this is the true problem. It is simply too easy, and thus cowardice, to consign all of such issues to psychosis. Of course, this is irrevocably a factor of America’s problem with gun violence. But the voracious NRA and its satellites disregard their own faultiness: how can one truly believe that a semi-automatic weapon, with such a caliber of lethality, fall under a “right to bear arms”? This weapon is designed to kill others at impressive speeds; this weapon of choice is not manufactured for hunting, let alone protecting. Even if these other issues are part of the real, underlying problem, our most readily available solution still should not be partisan. It is common sense. Strong arbiters of the second amendment should agree: we should not have access these weapons.

This massacre has had a personal effect on me. Whereas other school shootings seem, though tragic — very distant — I knew somebody who was inside of the building. I have known the Schneider family since I was five. I have distinct memories of their blue parakeet, Snowflake, and how the son, Sammy, was attacked by a girl in kindergarten because she wanted to kiss him. Sammy has always been a special person in my life, not because I see him all the time (because I have not seen him many times since his family moved to Florida), but because I remember a lot about Sammy. I remember my eighth grade self, venting to Sammy at a family dinner party because I was nervous for my birthday the next day. I told him my endless amounts of unwarranted fears, principally being: What if it isn’t special?  Sammy laughed, and responded by saying “you just have stop worrying, and let everyone else make it special for you!” Sammy has a special view of the world, in which he sees things with the glass half full. I cannot imagine the kind of toll that this would have on him, or his sister who was on lockdown in the building with the shooter.

Though the Schneider children were unharmed physically, there was a chance that they could have been fatally wounded like the 17 other victims of that day. They, like all other children, should have, and should be, protected. They, like many others, are too special to have had the chance to be lost. Our reprehensible and voracious politicians, serving not for the people but for themselves, are sitting and imbibing the blood of our children as blood money from the NRA.

When I grow up, I want to be a teacher. But quite frankly, I do not have interest in carrying a gun to school to protect my kids, or to serve as a first responder while worrying about assault weapons. My generation is the American future that will work with utmost tenacity to “drain the swamp” and implement genuine change. No more of these lives should be lost — and to me, that sounds pretty nonpartisan.

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Taking a Stance on Gun Violence