Students direct responses to legislators

Alexandra Moore

Emotions run high in response to the recent Florida high school shooting

As an opinions columnist, it is my job to write about my feelings regarding the issues or events that I deem important. Currently, being utterly disturbed by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, that topic is gun control.

I am devastated by the occurrence of yet another school shooting and, worse yet, the deaths of 17 more innocent young adults.
Unfortunately, I am also not surprised.
I am angered by the lack of legislation that could have prevented this and I now demand the implementation of legislation that will fight to prevent this from happening once again.
I know that I am not the only one who is feeling very strongly about this most recent act of injustice, nor about the trend of gun violence leading up to it, and I think this fact is more impactful than an article written by one voice alone.
I asked students and young adults what they would like to say to legislators about this shooting, and the seven other school shootings that have occured just this year.
Their responses unite together as one, a powerful voice calling for action against the continuance of our country’s history of passive protection against gun violence:

“Dear legislators, just think about how many lives can be saved. If we can prevent a death of just one person, don’t you think it’s worth it to regulate the way guns can be purchased? It won’t solve everything but it’s a great way to start.” -Aurelio Valdez, first-year political science and sociology major at SPU
“Dear legislators, I think it is important to first note that we all want the same thing: the elimination of gun violence. While opinions about how that should be done may differ, that overarching desire should facilitate compromise. Let’s stop polarizing this people issue.
“With that being said, I believe that every person in this country deserves liberty. That could include owning a gun, and most definitely includes feeling safe from gun violence in your own community. These two can coexist.
“By putting in place laws and procedures that vet gun owners more thoroughly, we can make sure that guns are in the hands of responsible citizens. Additionally, there is no need to produce guns or accessories for the general public that allow mass amounts of ammunition to be shot in one round.
“Gun violence is such an important issue, and everyone has valid opinions on the issue. These are mine, and I hope they are heard and taken into consideration as we move forward towards a compromise that will lead to liberty for all.” -Anna Wilder, first-year graphic design major at Brigham Young University.
“Dear legislators, as a future educator, I ask that you take action NOW!
“I am tired of watching news report after news report of innocent children dying from mass shootings. This is an epidemic that is plaguing our nation. I ask that your actions be motivated not by your financial backings or desire to uphold the dated Second Amendment, but that you act out of love and care for the lives of our nation’s children.
“I don’t want to teach in a classroom where I fear for my life or for the lives of my students.” -Delaney Palmer, first-year elementary education and Spanish major at SPU
“Dear legislators, it’s frustrating and disheartening that shootings are becoming more and more normalized. Parents shouldn’t need to talk to their kids about how they would react in a shooting”.
“Looking at other countries with stricter gun regulations proves that it does make a difference for the better. First, there’s absolutely no reason civilians should have automatic weaponry. Secondly, screening people with mental illnesses not only prevents mass shootings, but could also have an effect on suicide rates.” -Annie Corneille, first-year global development and Spanish major at SPU
“Dear legislators, do not arm teachers with weapons! Let’s talk about prevention, not fighting fire with fire.” -Ann Lamb, first-year fashion merchandising and business major at SPU
“Dear legislators, it’s time that we stand up and do something about gun violence. Realize that seven intentional school shootings have happened since the beginning of 2018. This is not okay! It’s time we do something to protect our schools and the children in them. Nobody should have to fear for their lives while wanting to better their education.” -Halle Lowder, 18, Oregon.
“Dear legislators, we need a ban on all assault weapons, as well as more thorough background checks for anyone wanting to purchase any kind of gun (including people with prior criminal convictions or a serious history of diagnosed mental health issues).
“Listen to the youth of America because we are the ones who are most affected by all of these policies and current lack of action. Lastly, don’t take money from the NRA or allow your fellow lawmakers to do so.” -David Gehlen, junior, visual communications major at SPU.
“Dear legislators, why do our children matter less than the control of guns? Why is this country’s future being sacrificed for your comfort?
“I beg you, don’t let a material possession—a privilege, not a right, in most countries—have more worth than a life.” -Addison Breier, senior music therapy major at SPU
“Dear legislators, you should be taking the time to look at the underlying issues of shootings.
“Instead of knee-jerk reactions to appease the public as soon as possible and piecemeal solutions that address specific situations, there needs to be careful consideration of the causes of the problem at large like gun control and sympathizing for perpetrators.” -Gage Gafford, 19, Washington.
“Dear legistors, the fact that kids are taking a stance against violence and adults are sitting by watching, is so bizarre. Kids aren’t in a place where they are taken seriously, it’s you who hold the position of power. Kids shouldn’t have to worry about going to school. And it’s not just in schools, it could happen anywhere.” – Jacquie Estrada, first-year visual communications major at SPU.
“Dear legislators, put your interests aside and vote with your conscience. Don’t wait until your family becomes the next victims of mass shooting.” -James Cadence Chung, first-year philosophy major at SPU.
“To the victims of this massacre, all I have to say is: I’m sorry. I’m sorry that your lives ended before you had the opportunity to develop into future teachers, workers, CEOs, mothers, fathers, etc. I’m sorry that the government was unable to sit down and think past their politics.
“You should have never been another statistic. This issue should have been addressed years prior to your loss. The ignorance of our government on gun control is unacceptable.
“To legislators, I hope this is now on your conscience. I hope you are unable to sleep at night because it has registered in your small minds that this and many more instances like this could have been prevented. #neveragain” -Kiana Kahusi, first-year psychology major at SPU.
If you have something to say about gun violence, it is your responsibility to do so.
We have to be louder than opposing voices for our own to be heard. Contact your representatives, employ social media to advocate your view, engage in conversations with your peers.
We stand with the people of Parkland, Florida and all other victims, survivors and families affected by gun violence. And this means we will no longer stand for inaction.
Alexandra is a first-year studying English and political science.