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America Needs a Change to End Mass Killings

Kiras Tavernakis

I can confidently say that, whether you stand with the left, right, both, or neither, we need a change in this country, and we need to not let school shootings and people dying become the norm from here on out.

Though I can see the argument from each side of the dispute, I believe we need firm gun control and much more in-depth mental health and background checks. At the same time, I believe people do have a place to their 2nd Amendment rights, and that just taking guns away completely would abolish part of the idea of what freedom is in America.

Unfortunately in this subject, there is no real right or wrong answer. There’re people who have their own beliefs, and that’s just a part of human nature. Except now, people’s lives are being lost because of faulty systems and loose laws, causing loopholes for someone to get a firearm when they lack the real mental capabilities to properly use it. In my opinion, no one in any country has a need for an AR-15, or any gun that nears having the same semi-automatic to automatic capabilities of one.

Those weapons were made to kill people in war, and they’re now being used to kill people in our home. Another thing we’re seeing now are the “copy-cats,” the kids so fascinated and intrigued by the ones committing this crimes that they want to try it themselves.

We could easily look at other countries’ gun laws and see that because of their stricter rules, there have been less mass shootings, and less deaths by guns. But we don’t look at that. We look solely at our 2nd Amendment rights, and turn any kind of tragedy into a political debate. We let a mass shooting such as the one in Parkland, Florida, get about a week’s worth of news coverage, then we just forget about it and wait till the next one to send our “thoughts and prayers.”

The only difference is, now the survivors are angry, and they have a voice so strong they’re getting millions of others’ attention. At my school, I now am a part of our school safety committee, working together to plan our form of the National Walkout on March 14 to promote school safety and remember the lives of those lost. Many I know will try to turn this protest political, but I don’t see why we can’t just look at it as paying our respects to the lives that have been lost. Not only those lost in Parkland, but at so many other schools that lots of people probably don’t hear about, because the larger school shootings are becoming so normal, the ones where a person or two are killed are just swept under the carpet.

Students shouldn’t have to go to school and wonder if they’ll ever see their loved ones again. They shouldn’t walk in and not be able to walk out because they were killed by a person that purchased a gun with the sole intent on hurting others. School is a place of learning, it shouldn’t be a place of fear for anyone, students or teachers, and I believe that we need to make a drastic change here in America.

Kiras Tavernakis is a student at Oceanside High School in Rockland.