By Stevi Breshears:
I have never been more disappointed in my country.
As I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed in the wake of the tragedy that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I see nothing but vicious arguing.
I’ve learned that American citizens have gotten really good at pointing fingers. It’s easy to look at a mass shooting like this and say, “this all could’ve been avoided if we had stricter gun laws,” or “maybe if he’d been on some sort of medication, he wouldn’t have felt the need to murder 17 of his former peers,” or “if the media didn’t glorify these criminals, they wouldn’t be trying to one-up each other.”
People died. Children died. The bottom line is that on Wednesday, February 14, a 19-year-old walked into his old high school with an AR-15 and murdered 17 students. Teenagers. These kids will never graduate. They will never get to experience the magic of senior prom, they will not graduate, they will not go to college. Their parents have to sleep at night knowing their children will never get to experience the rest of their lives because of something another person decided to do. There are wives that saw their husbands off for a normal day at work, only to come home alone at the end of the day. Children who will grow up without their fathers. These families will never be the same.
A person did this. Not a gun, not a gun law, not a mental illness, not a medication, not a political party. A single person made this decision.
But for some reason, America, we don’t see that. It’s a cycle we’re becoming all too familiar with: something horrible happens, we’re shocked, we get angry, we fight with each other about the cause, we fight about what should be done, we slowly forget about it, and eventually life goes back to normal.
We can’t seem to recognize that the problem is so much bigger than just one thing. We get so caught up in looking for something to blame that we forget to look at what’s right in front of us: the killer.
There is no excuse for a heinous act like mass-murder. There is no winner in the argument of gun control vs. mental health vs. political affiliation vs. the media, etc, because you’re all correct. These are all huge problems in America. A mass shooting can be narrowed down to a single cause: the person that did it.
We have to stop fighting with each other, and start fighting together. Nothing will ever get accomplished if we don’t stop bickering over which issue needs to be resolved. They all need to be resolved.
We can’t keep letting ourselves forget. We have to keep fighting to change laws, to bring awareness to mental health issues. We have to keep fighting to solve all the problems. We have to keep fighting for justice for Alyssa Alhadeff (14), Scott Beigle (35), Martin Duque Anguiano (14), Nicholas Dworet (17), Aaron Feis (37), Jaime Guttenberg (14), Chris Hixon (49), Luke Hoyer (15), Cara Loughran (14), Gina Montalto (14), Joaquin Oliver (17), Alaina Petty (14), Meadow Pollack (18), Helena Ramsay (17), Alex Schachter (14), Carmen Schentrup (16), and Peter Wang (15).
Remember their names. Remember what happened here. Hold your loved ones a little tighter. Be grateful that you are still breathing, and use that breath for something bigger than fighting on Facebook. Together, we can change this world. Why don’t we?