Opinion: Gun Violence in America

Opinion: Gun Violence in America

Karina Escobar Rivera, Contributing Writer

Gun violence in America is out of control. I was raised constantly having lockdown drills at my school, knowing that at any time in life something bad could happen in school or anywhere else. Many families have lost loved ones due to gun violence. These weapons have hurt so many people. So why as a country are we allowing this unnecessary violence to flourish when we could and should be taking steps to eliminate it altogether?

The term “School Shooting Generation” first referred to those students coming of age in the late 1990s, and 2000s. This violence never stopped for future generations. As I grew up I learned about the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting. That was the saddest event I have ever seen. How could someone do such a horrible thing to elementary students? After learning what happened to those children I was always scared that maybe an event like that could happen in my school.

Now let’s delve into American gun violence in general. So many people have died because of open and unsecured access to these horrible weapons. For example, a New York Times Magazine article entitled “Why More American Children Are Dying by Gunfire” profiles one mother’s efforts to keep her son safe from violence only for him to be killed by his friend in a tragic 2021 accident. “On Dec. 9, Kendall Munson’s football-loving 11-year-old son, Elyjah, and some friends were walking to a gas station for after-school snacks when one of Elyjah’s best friends, a 12-year-old, pulled a gun from a backpack and shot Elyjah in the head.” Far too many children who are exposed to guns end up either hurting themselves or hurting other people. What many believe is just a toy they’re playing with ends up in tragedy with one wrong move.

“Ghost guns” are homemade and these are more dangerous than other weapons. For example, the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation says “Ghost guns refer to homemade firearms that are created by assembling pieces, sold together in a kit or separately, to create a fully functioning firearm.¨ Ghost guns have already been used for school shootings. In Santa Clarita, CA, a 16-year-old brought a ghost gun to school. He killed two of his classmates and injure three others before taking his own life.

With every mass shooting, there are calls to end the violence. The loss and destruction that has been happening for so many years will only continue if we don’t do something fast. Without fast action there will be no end to this tragic reality we live in, no generation that will be able to say they have left the “School Shooting Generation” in the past.