We deserve and need change
By McKenzie Ward
I was only 12 years old when I felt genuine fear for the first time.
I was only 12 years old when I watched a news report about 20 children who were only 6 and 7 years old who were killed in their classrooms - a space meant to be safe for children.
I was only 12 years old when I believed something would change.
I mean, 20 children and six educators were killed - how could it not change?
But now 10 years after the Sandy Hook shooting, I am 22 years old and since Jan. 1, 2023, there have been 90 shootings on school grounds, according to the K-12 School Shooting Database. As of March 31, we are only 90 days into the year.
And most recently, on Monday, March 27, in Nashville, Tennessee, three children and three adults died when an individual walked into their school and shot them.
Schools are meant to be a place to inspire, protect, and nurture - not a place where people are murdered.
Despite my hope that no family would ever have to experience the pain of losing someone they love to gun violence, over these last 10 years, nothing has changed.
Our children and educators continue to worry each and every day and ask themselves, “Will my school be next?”
However, rather than address this issue by passing much-needed gun control legislation, our nation’s politicians, specifically the GOP, continue to ignore the fact that our country’s children and educators are dying as a result of gun violence.
On Tuesday, just one day after six innocent people were murdered, U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee stated, “We aren’t going to fix this,” when asked what Congress would do about school shootings.
He claims that gun legislation is not going to solve school shootings but rather that our country needs a religious “revival,” and said that Washington won’t fix it because they are the “problem.”
Well, yes Washington is the problem, but it is because the GOP continues to ignore pleas from across the nation to protect those in our schools.
When asked if there were other steps lawmakers could take to protect our nation’s children like Burchett’s daughter, Burchett replied, “We’ll homeschool her,” - a privilege that is not realistic for the majority of parents in the United States.
Parents across the United States who simply cannot afford to homeschool their children are forced to live in a state of constant fear of their child becoming yet another victim of the GOP’s inability to swiftly address the impact of gun violence in our schools.
Our educators are forced to create plans for an active shooter and have weighed their point of fight or flight.
Every teacher we all know has pondered over the thought, “What if a shooter enters my classroom - what would I do?”
This is something our educators should never have to deal with.
They are teachers - not warriors.
While the GOP is more concerned about banning drag shows, banning books, and banning a diverse curriculum, children are dying at the hands of gun violence and the blood is on the hands of the members of the GOP.
If the GOP truly cares about protecting our nation’s children, they would start by being open to bipartisan-supported gun control legislation such as reimposing the ban on assault weapons that expired nearly two decades ago that prohibited the manufacture, transfer, or possession of semiautomatic assault weapons.
As each day passes, the United States government puts our nation’s students and those working in schools in danger.
We needed gun control legislation after Columbine.
We needed gun control legislation after Sandy Hook.
We needed gun control legislation after Parkland.
We needed gun control legislation after Uvalde.
We need gun control legislation now.