Yesterday, five students were shot in a shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California. At time of press, two of the students had died, and the three other students who were shot were being treated at the hospital. The gunman was a 16-year-old student who concealed a .45 caliber pistol in his backpack and shot himself after shooting the five students.
This is yet another school shooting that could have been prevented.
After every shooting that has happened, people say something along the lines of, “No, we can’t talk about what can be done because we’re in a period of mourning. People lost their lives, so we have to grieve.” After this said period of mourning, people come up with another excuse of why we should not discuss solutions. If the time to enact change is not directly after a shooting, and if we still cannot do so after a grieving period, then when is the right time?
One would think we, as the people of the U.S., would have learned from the past, because we have had a past riddled with mass shootings, including ones that have taken place in schools. From the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in 2018, our legislation has not changed significantly enough to prevent these shootings from occurring. And school shootings have occurred long before the Columbine High School shooting.
The U.S. cannot constantly prioritize the “right to bear arms” over its own people. We cannot constantly claim that we are in periods of mourning and that we cannot do anything. Enough is enough.
Thoughts and prayers will not save the future generations of children from suffering mental and physical trauma due to gun violence. Thoughts and prayers will not prevent parents from burying their child because someone with a gun was able to go into a school. And thoughts and prayers will certainly not stop something like this from happening again.
Certain students said that they grew up knowing that something like this — a school shooting — could happen to them. The school had gone through active shooter drills before.
It is upsetting that children today are growing up with a fear in the back of their minds that they will experience a school shooting. The plain truth is that we should have created legislation a long time ago to prevent a school shooting—or any other mass shooting for that matter — from occurring. However, it is not too late to create legislation that restricts the use of guns in order to keep everyone safe.
After the shooting at the mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, gun laws were majorly amended in order to prevent a mass shooting from occurring again. It is possible for the U.S. to amend its gun laws in order to protect its citizens. Whether it is by outlawing certain guns entirely, creating stricter background checks or doing something else entirely, a shooting like this should never happen again.
We must talk about school shootings and amending legislation. We cannot continue living in this cycle wherein there are mass shootings and no one does anything to prevent them from happening, because it will just continue over and over again.
People were shot yesterday because someone was able to go into a school with a gun. These injuries and the deaths that occurred could have been prevented if laws were enacted after the last shooting. During this upcoming period of grieving, yes it should be fine to mourn, but it should also be a time to enact change and to ensure that this never happens again.
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Anika Veeraraghav is a weekly columnist for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.