Time to Finally Do Something About Senseless Gun Violence


High schoolers protest against unfair gun laws.

Alexis Weiss, Reporter

Recent back-to-back mass shootings in both Georgia and Boulder have brought attention back to the much-needed legislation surrounding gun control. These are just two of the 133 massacres we have had in 2021 in the US. 

It’s April. 

Americans have become so accustomed to hearing about shootings; the wave of sadness that quickly becomes horror, disgust, anger and fear becomes anything but surprising. It has almost become a norm to hear about yet another tragedy. Another “crazy” person with a gun, firing bullets into a crowd. Another motive. Another person dead. Again and again and again. 

Children are sent to school with the fear, whether aware of it or not, that they might not return home, and instead could be shot with a bullet while sitting in their classroom. People now have to be fearful of grocery stores and massage parlors, office buildings and festivals, playgrounds and gas stations, among many other places. 

It shouldn’t be this way. 

Ever since I can remember, lock-down drills have been a part of school. Schools have a protocol to follow: lock all windows and doors, turn off lights, account for all students in the classroom, hide under desks or behind obstructions, stay quiet. I remember feeling so small as a fifth grader, as we were talked through these instructions and walked down to the asphalt where the principal described what it would be like to have an active shooter on campus, where we would go and what we would do. 

I remember lying awake in bed that night, afraid to go to school the next day. 

“I’ve been doing lock-down drills as long as I can remember,” sophomore Amanda Ross recalled. “I remember trying to find a way I would escape the fastest. We shouldn’t have to practice hiding from a gun at the age of 7.”

“Every time we have a lock-down drill, I’m just kinda blown away,” said sophomore Elle Carrow. “I’m disappointed and I’m scared that we still, or ever had to, practice this drill which should never happen.” 

They are not alone. 

“I feel like a lot of kids in our generation feel the same way,” Carrow continued. 

It seems to be the general consensus that these drills impact kids in a negative way and set them up to fear the worst. Yet, we are always told not to worry. These drills are just “precautions” that have to be taken. 

But then gun violence just might strike close to home.

When I was in sixth grade, my friend’s mother was killed in the Las Vegas shooting. Stacee Etcheber, mother of two and a hairdresser in Novato, never came home from a concert because a man decided to blindly fire bullets into a crowd. 

There were 340 shootings in 2018 including Parkland, a high school shooting where 14 students and 3 teachers were killed. No gun laws were changed, and again in 2019, when mass shootings across the US outnumbered days, still, no gun laws were changed. Even now, nothing monumental has been federally legislated to protect children, parents and citizens across America. 

2020 hit a record high with gun violence. 

Nothing but crickets. 

And now here we are, April 2021, already at a total of 133, a higher total than it was over the same time period in 2018, 2019 and 2020. 

According to the Giffords Law Center, firearms are the leading cause of death for all Americans and the second-leading cause for kids under 19. 316 people are shot everyday. 

Most of us look at these outrageous statistics and think something needs to change. Most people.

No matter your views, no matter your political party, no matter your opinion, I hope we can all agree on one thing: we cannot keep failing our children. We cannot keep allowing them to fear being at school; we cannot keep accepting that kids are scared of being held at gunpoint, scared of being hurt, or scared of being killed. We have to stop being accustomed to the hundreds of preventable tragedies every year due to guns. We cannot accept this as an American norm. 

Because it is not normal.