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America, Time To Wake Up

On April 29, 1999, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 students and 1 teacher at Columbine High School.

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza murdered 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary.

On February 14, 2018, Nikolas Cruz fatally shot 14 students and 3 staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Beyond that, Churches, nightclubs, and movie theaters have all lost the ability to claim to be a safe space, and the government has done nothing to stop this.

However, that has not kept the people of this country silent.

Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the February 14 shooting, is one of the leading voices demanding gun control and shaming the government for their lack of actions to protect its citizens. She spoke at the Fort Lauderdale rally, shaming politicians for accepting donations from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and repeating “we call BS” throughout her moving and motivating speech.

Others are following her example. Around the country, students are stepping up and demanding justice for all those we have lost to gun violence. On February 17, Never Again MSD, a group formed after the Parkland shooting, held a rally in Fort Lauderdale. On February 19, a lie-in was organized outside of the White House by students in DC. March 14 will bring walk-outs, organized by the Women’s March, where at 10AM, protesters will walk out of schools and offices for 17 minutes.

America’s youth are fighting against the corruption of the government to protect themselves and their people. The President’s plan to arm teachers to prevent more school shootings from occurring is ridiculous. Teachers are underpaid as it is, and many have to buy their own school supplies and pay for their own trainings.

Thoughts and prayers have changed nothing and policy change are long overdue. But if the President’s plan to arm teachers is not enough, what is? Should America introduce stricter gun control and follow in the footsteps of Australia and Japan?

Japan’s gun control platform is rigorous, but the country has less than ten gun related deaths per year. A written exam and an all day safety class are required, and must be done every three years, as well as having a 95% on an accuracy test. A background check for criminal activity and a psychiatric exam in a hospital are also done before citizens can buy either a shotgun or air rifle. Even the police in Japan tend to stray from guns, preferring batons and martial arts to shooting.

In Australia, after a massacre killed 35 people, the Australian government introduced legislation that banned semi-automatic rifles and shotguns. Since the 1996 massacre, Australia has had less than five mass shootings.

The problem with Japan’s and Australia’s solution is that they won’t work in America.  Why? Australians and the Japanese are afraid of guns. America loves them. And American politicians love donations from the NRA.

When the United States government decides to value its citizens more than it values its handouts from companies and organizations, maybe then our children will be safe at school. Until then, we will continue to fight, to protest, demand more.

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