A Right to a Sense of Security

It could happen to anyone, at any time, at any place. Why? Because, there isn't any form of regulation and control. We are expected to become productive members of society. We have a right to education; we have a right to a sense of security.

March 9, 2018

I Should Not Be Afraid

I am a 17 year old girl who wants nothing more than a good education and friends that care about me. I shouldn’t need to worry about the safety of those friends while they are in school with only the pure intention to learn.

The morning of Wednesday, February 14th, was an average morning. Nothing seemed wrong. As I walked to my locker, my best friend’s cousin saw me and wished me a Happy Valentines Day. I considered texting my friend at that moment, but decided against it as I did not want to be late to class. The day dragged on and I barely touched my phone.

That became my biggest regret.

I arrived home a bit early that day, maybe around 2:20. I took a nap after school, expecting to wake up to a peaceful house with motivation to study. Instead, I awoke to notifications on my phone that immediately had me sick to my stomach.

“Breaking news- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting.”

I continued scrolling in disbelief, praying that I was still asleep. As I scrolled further, it dawned on me..my best friend goes to that school. I couldn’t bring myself to think anymore. I froze. Time froze. The thought that she was one of the growing numbers of fatalities sickened me. I didn’t know what to do. As my scrolling of my morbid notifications continued, I came upon a text from a mutual friend of ours that my phone received an hour after I had fallen asleep.

My best friend was alive and okay, but her friends were not. She had been one hallway away as two of her own friends were being shot in the leg.

It was Valentine’s Day…a day meant to show love and affection for the people you care about the most. Why did 17 innocent people need to die?

The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had been a former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Last year, at the age of 18, Cruz purchased one of his 10 rifles that he legally owns. Cruz was still a mentally unstable teenager, yet he was allowed to own a gun. Anyone who knew him was afraid he would become violent one day, yet they all allowed him to keep his guns. If something had been done, if he did not have possession of these guns, none of this would have happened.

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, there have been over 1,600 mass shootings in America. During these six years, almost 2,000 lives have been lost to mass shootings in the country. In Japan, it is rare for there to be more than 10 deaths caused by guns in a single year. This recent shooting has already exceeded what is deemed normal in Japan. In fact, there were only 6 deaths caused by guns in Japan in 2014, while there were 33,599 (individual and mass shootings included) in the United States.  Why? Japan has enforced very strict gun control laws, while the U.S. allows teenagers to purchase firearms.

Maybe our country should reconsider our laws.

The United States as a whole should amend its gun laws to protect its citizens. Not only for the young students, but for every innocent life in America. Speaking as a teen, I believe it is extremely unsafe for a firearm to be in an 18-year-old’s possession. Teenagers are still very unpredictable and can have outbursts of anger, leading to violence. A gun in the hands of someone who is unstable will only lead to harm. Therefore, if the age requirement is raised to at least 21 years of age, that will eliminate some potential threats. In addition, a mental health test should be taken as a part of gun registration and it should be renewed every year or two. If this were already a requirement, maybe the 17 innocents in Parkland, Florida would still be alive today.

If you feel unsafe, believe our country’s gun laws should be changed, or simply advocate for the safety of the innocent, then you should join the thousands on Saturday, March 24th. There will be a “March for Our Lives” in both New York City and Washington, D.C.

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Do You Feel Safe?

I am a student at Clifton High School. Every time I set foot in this building, I fear that any step could be my last. With the recent school shootings in Florida and Alabama, there has been a surge of support for gun control and regulation. A popular argument being disputed upon is whether teachers should be armed in the classroom. I feel strongly that teachers should not be armed. Adding more guns to the situation will make it worse not better. Whoever thought handing untrained teachers guns was a good idea… well, you get the point.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that each teacher was given the proper instruction needed to safely operate a firearm. The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) reports that there are just over 3.6 million teachers in the United States. Shooting lessons do not come cheap. I found a site online that charges a flat fee of $185 an hour for a lesson. Let’s say that each teacher needs roughly 3 hours to get acclimated with a gun and feel comfortable shooting it. This means that it would cost roughly $1,998,000,000 to train every teacher. However, 3 hours will not give you the precision and accuracy that comes with constant practice. In a Quora discussion on how long it takes the average person to become proficient with a gun, the estimated answer is around 40 hours and 1500 rounds.

Where would this money come from? $1,998,000,000 is not pocket change. President Trump openly aired his support on his Twitter account. This leads us to believe the federal government might get involved and implement a law in which arming a teacher is mandatory. The US is a debtor nation with approximately $19.84 trillion owed. How does arming teachers fit into our budget? Even if the arming of teachers was dealt with on a state or local level, the money to do so is virtually nonexistent. Clifton High is underfunded as it is. Enforcing this idea would be emptying our already empty coffers.

This idea, while outlandish and vastly disapproved of by many teachers, is still gaining traction. The harsh reality is students simply won’t feel safe as long as teachers are armed. And teachers won’t feel safe as well. Josh Grubs, a college professor and long-time gun owner uploaded his two cents on Twitter on February 21, 2018. Grubs felt that while being a decent shot, he was not capable of safely and capably defending a classroom. He went on to say if he felt he couldn’t, how would other teachers feel without any of his training?  There is also the very real possibility of a stray bullet hitting a student. A gun is no laughing matter. No matter how skilled or proficient you are, a firearm is still a firearm. Dangerous.

We should not be focusing on how to arm teachers; we should be focusing on how to protect students. Students should walk through the halls worrying about assignments and tests, not gunmen. Gun control must be closely regulated and monitored. Metal detectors should be placed in front of every doorway and entrance. Security should be increased. The safety and protection of our students should be paramount. Instead of passing around unconventional ideas about student safety, we should be doing something about it. Just as President Franklin D. Roosevelt said “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something”

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