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We need more than your prayers

<p>Imani Harris</p>

Imani Harris

Feb. 15 marked the sixth school shooting of 2018, according to USA TODAY.

An alum of Marjory Stoneman Douglass, Nikolas Cruz, shot and killed 14 peers and three staff members, injuring 14.

The suspect is now in custody, charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

I’ve read a lot of “our prayers are with you” tweets from decision-makers in office, and I can confidently say: we don’t want your prayers.

As a student, your prayers mean nothing to me. If a 19-year-old with a history of mental health problems is cleared to legally own a gun, and then uses it to terrorize and kills students and staff in a school, blood is on your hands, policy makers.

How many mass shootings does it take to get to the center of the real issue? At the rate of 96 Americans being shot on average per day, the answer should be right in front of us.

Current president Donald Trump said in his response talk that if students feel “lost, alone or scared,” they should seek help. He spoke strongly about the importance of addressing mental health issues in youth, but not a single word about gun control.

Mental health in general is an important issue and must be addressed, but that troubled youth have access to guns at all is problematic and can be dealt with with legislative action.

A person that struggles with mental health is a problem America needs to fix, but a person struggling with mental health who has access to a gun is a deadly situation that demands attention.

People do kill people ... with guns in hand. I’ve never heard of a mass stabbing, or a mass strangling, but for some reason argument persists.

As a student, I am terrified that on any given day, I have the possibility of being shot inside my school. No prayer takes that fear away.

Legislation. Gun reform. Ending campaign support from the NRA. That would ease my fear.

America is one of the only nations to have nearly consecutive mass shootings, so what are we going to do about it? For some countries, it only took ONE shooting to force reform, but we’ve had elementary school shootings, movie theater shootings, and concert shootings -- still “guns aren’t the problem.”

Government officials who tweet their condolences with one hand, and take in NRA blood money with the other appall my sensibilities. These mass shootings are a result of politicians’ double-handedness.

The normalizing of mass shootings is traumatizing, and students deserve to be assured that they will survive each school day. I hope that legislators will come to a similar conclusion.


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