Op-ed: Florida massacre marks 18 school shootings this year

Op-ed: Florida massacre marks 18 school shootings this year

Letter from the Editors-in-Chief:

Letter from the Editors-in-Chief:

 

At least 17 people were killed by a 19-year-old gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 14. Students and faculty alike are among the deceased — victims of yet another shooting massacre.

The gunman, identified as Nikolas Cruz, was armed with a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle. Cruz was recently expelled from the school, authorities said, and may have had motives of revenge. At approximately 2:40 p.m. (the time class sessions ended), Cruz made his way into the hallways and proceeded with his deadly rampage. Twelve were killed inside of the school and three outside of it, with two more victims succumbing to their injuries within local hospitals. 

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For more than an hour, the school was held captive by a domestic terrorist. Cruz was apprehended by authorities in a nearby city after attempting to blend in with the crowd of fleeing students. “You come to the conclusion this is just absolutely pure evil,” said Florida Governor Rick Scott. The governor, whom the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund gave an “A+” rating, said: “There is a time to continue to have these conversations about how through law enforcement, how through mental illness funding, to keep people safe, and we’ll continue to do that.”

We at the Quaker Campus mourn for those afflicted by this deadly series of events; however, we feel the governor’s words are empty platitudes at best. While mental illness awareness and treatement is a very real and pertinent issue, the statement by Scott is one of smoke and mirrors. The underlying problem does not rest with mental illness — it lies with America’s gun culture. Guns are the primary reason for the mass murder sprees occurring here in the states. According to CNBC, there have been 18 school shootings within the first 45 days of 2018. 

Guns are a tool used exclusively for their ability to apply deadly force to a situation; they are incredibly efficient in this regard. There is a reason why we no longer fight with bayonets and knives — guns do their job, and they do their job well. They are tools meant to kill with ease and impunity. It’s an intuitive reasoning: more guns equals more gun violence. Remove them and you remove gun violence. “Within the United States, a wide array of empirical evidence indicates that more guns in a community leads to more homicide,” David Hemenway, the Harvard Injury Control Research Center’s Director, wrote in Private Guns, Public Health.

In 2015, a subreddit satirically titled GunsAreCool defined a mass shooting as any single instant in which at least four people were shot, including the gunman. According to this definition, the community tracked an average of at least one mass shooting per day in America. Visiting Assistant Professor of English Joe Donnelly said,“We are letting our interpretation of the Second Amendment turn us into accessories of mass murder.”

We have mourned and suffered long enough. We have listened to red herring fallacies and statements that hide the greater issue of gun violence here in America long enough. Guns are the reason for the mass murders and domestic acts of terror here at home, and it’s time we do something to fix it.