I am a student at Hart High School. Although I do not attend Saugus High School, where the shooting Thursday occurred, I have several friends who attend there and witnessed the tragedy. Below are my thoughts regarding Saugus and gun control.
We think we’re exempt, that nothing will ever happen to us. We see stories of shootings on the news, but naively think that it will never happen to us. Saugus’s shooting broke the “safety bubble” that surrounds Santa Clarita. School shootings happen, and it can happen anywhere. No one is exempt.
How many more students and citizens of the United States must die before our government realizes that action needs to be taken?
“Thoughts and prayers” aren’t enough. The government needs to take action to protect its students.
Action needed to be taken long ago. After Sandy Hook, people said never again. After Parkland, people said never again. And now, after Saugus, people are saying never again. However, change does not occur, because the government has yet to do anything. Inaction has consequences: the loss of life. It’s no longer a question of political views; it’s a question of morals. The government is protecting guns and gun owners while placing children in second priority, and it shows. Their inaction speaks to where the government places their values, and it’s not toward the future of the nation.
Some say that directly after a shooting is too early to begin to discuss politics and gun control.
They say it’s time for praying, for grieving. But when no action is taken, shootings continue to happen.
There is no “right” time to begin to talk about what we can do as a nation to prevent things like this from happening again. Politicians send out prayers, but that doesn’t help or prevent the problem. While prayers can help relieve the pain, politicians should aim to prevent another shooting from occurring.
When our founding fathers created the law protecting the right for an individual to own a gun, their guns fired at a rate of one or two bullets per minute. Now, guns expel bullets at an immensely faster rate. At Saugus, everything happened in 16 seconds. In 16 seconds, the shooter was able to harm five other students, and then himself. The guns people use have changed and our laws should change as well. The 27 words that make up the Second Amendment have caused countless people to lose their lives and for others to fear for their own.
Surviving high school should be metaphorical, not literal. No student should be afraid to go to school. No student should have to be locked in a classroom in fear while an active shooter roams the campus. No student should have to go through this. No student should spend their morning texting their friends to make sure that they are OK. But this is the world we live in; a world where lives fall second while guns and money become the first priority.
Saugus will not be reduced to another statistic. The victims are people, students, sons, daughters, and more. They are not a number and they should not be remembered as such. The names of the victims, Gracie Anne Muehlberger and Dominic Blackwell, will not be forgotten. Reducing their lives to a number leaves so much out of their lives. They were children, friends, athletes, family members, and so much more. These two had so much of their lives left, yet it was taken away by a single person. When it’s your city and your friends, everything becomes so much more real. It’s no longer strangers who had to experience something like this, it’s your friends and peers. The reality of this situation for those who live in the Santa Clarita area will be forever embedded into our minds. This is not something we can forget.
And yet, people across America are moving on. We have become so used to tragedies like this happening that it is easy to forget and move on. Citizens and the government should not change focus so easily and forget everything that has happened. Directly after the shooting, people have become distracted by other topics, like sports and celebrities, which demonstrates how desensitized people have become toward tragedies like these. This is a process that repeats itself: a mass shooting occurs, politicians send their thoughts and prayers, the government takes no action, everyone forgets, and then it happens again.
Students across the nation are dying, and the government is doing nothing about it. It’s time for change.
It may be too late, but the time for reform and gun control laws has come. Sitting silently is no longer an option. We will not be silenced. We demand action.