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The survivors of the Florida high school shooting earlier this year on the cover of Time.

The survivors of the Florida high school shooting earlier this year on the cover of Time.

The survivors of the Florida high school shooting earlier this year on the cover of Time.

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More than 59 innocent lives lost, 527 people left with devastating injuries, and 20,000 bystanders traumatized for life. Just a few months ago, the deadliest mass shooting in American history turned Las Vegas’s vibrant nightlife into a graveyard. And just as America was recovering from this tragedy, Stoneman Douglas and, more recently, Santa Fe suffer the same fate.

What do all these deaths have in common? They were all caused by one man with a gun. The bright eyed teenagers from Florida and Santa Fe were just like us: going to school, writing their college applications, and preparing for the future that ultimately, ended up being taken from them. One man with a gun has the potential to end hundreds of lives, children’s lives, children who will never get the chance to experience what the world has to offer them.  Even worse, most of these men acquired their weapons legally. We have seen 101 mass shootings since January 1, and that averages to almost one shooting a day. In barely 5 months, there has been over a hundred deaths, and if we don’t put an end to this, the numbers will just keep rising, and the body count will too.

The United States has the highest number of mass shootings when compared to other nations, accounting for almost 31% of all gun violence in the world. If we had taken more appropriate actions, looked into the the firearm policies of countries with low gun death rates like Japan, and recognized that gun control is a necessity for the safety of our people, we could have saved many lives, including the lives of the 10 people who died in Santa Fe and the 17 from Stoneman Douglas.

I am not asking for the complete prohibition of guns, nor am I denying anyone their second amendment rights. What I want is simple: I want the government to take more precautions and implement more regulations and restrictions during the process of purchasing a gun so sick people like Stephen Paddock and Adam Lanza won’t have access to these deadly weapons.

Assault rifles like the AR15 & AK47, or components such as bump stocks, aren’t necessities that we need. Open carry shouldn’t be a policy that public schools allow, and the age limit for guns shouldn’t be lower than the drinking age; if society doesn’t think that people under 21 are responsible enough to drink, what makes them responsible enough to handle a gun?  

In the past few years, political and social tensions have risen to unprecedented level of polarization. Yes, society has made progress throughout the past decade: the first black president the legalization of gay marriage, the #MeToo movement. However, there is still so much hate that still exists today, and especially more so now under the new administration. In 2012, seven people were murdered in a Sikh temple. Three years ago, a deranged man charged into a black church in Charleston, killing nine people. In 2016, 49 innocents were slaughtered in a gay nightclub. The public is quick to condemn a brown kid with a clock as a terrorist with a bomb, but is hesitant to label a white mass shooter as a terrorist. Today, the government is so consumed by strict immigration policies and preventing foreign threats, that we forget that the real threat has been domestic all along. The real focus right now, should be on reforming gun laws to make it harder for the wrong people to obtain a deadly weapon.

I am aware that shootings happen so frequently that we feel desensitized to the bad news, but we cannot become accustomed to hearing about mass shooting everyday, nor can we ignore discussions regarding this subject. What we need to do is bring awareness to this serious social issue that needs to be fixed, and soon. It is our duty as Americans to do what is best for our country. It is our duty to create a safe environment for our children, our children’s children, and every generation after that. It is our duty to speak up and demand changes in society, because that is the only way for society to progress and learn from its mistakes.

The emergence of March for Our Lives, created by the survivors from Stoneman Douglas, has created an outlet and a platform for the youth to voice their opinions. Historically, the youth has always been at the forefront of social revolutions, spearheading progressive change. All of us can play a part in this revolution; participate in protests for March for Our Lives. Reach out to elected officials and tell them how much gun control means to you. Pressure politicians who take money from the NRA, and boycott companies that support the gun-toting organization.

Yes, this movement faces a lot of obstacles and opposition from powerful forces. However, I believe that, collectively, we can make a difference. In the words of Emma Gonzalez, a leader of March for Our Lives, “We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks. Not because we’re going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because we are going to be the last mass shooting.” So together, let us write history, not just be part of it.

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About the Writer
Amanda Chung, Photojournalist

Amanda Chung is a senior at Yorba Linda High School. She has been a photojournalist for The Wrangler for three years now, and she also participates in...

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