Value people, not guns

Ashley Hoxie, Staff

I live in Pembroke, which is a relatively small town, and I have always felt safe in my community. However, this is my last year of high school, and as I prepare for college and the “real world,” I’m beginning to worry about my personal safety. 

In the past month, mass shootings have been on the rise in the United States with a total of 43 in November, including The Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs, a shooting at The University of Virginia and another mass shooting at a Walmart in Virginia. 

Almost everyday, there’s a new incident of gun violence with mass casualties. I fear for the direction the country is heading unless we enact stricter gun laws. I am only 17, but throughout my years in school, I have witnessed to various school shooting threats that have put my peers and me in danger. 

These mass shootings have become too normalized, and no action has been taken to prevent them from happening again. In some states, there are limited gun laws, and some states don’t require permits or background checks. Without these precautions, it seems that state-level governments are failing to take our safety seriously. 

With 2022 wrapping up, there have been more than 600 mass shootings this year alone, and there have already been four this month. Nothing is going to get better unless the elected officials and people in power do something to prevent future gun violence. 

After every shooting, people offer their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims. However, there are only so many “thoughts and prayers” one can give before something needs to be done. “Thoughts and prayers” will not stop someone’s mother, father, sibling or friend from being killed by a gun. 

Many of the shootings that have taken place this year can be attributed to mental illness, as well as lack of regulations around purchasing these weapons. These shootings are often exacted with military style assault rifles, which aren’t by any means necessary for any civilian to own—nevermind an 18-year-old gunman. 

Stricter gun laws need to be put into place, including background checks and mental health evaluations.  While these things will not eliminate the issue of gun violence,  they lessen the amount of people that have access to guns. 

I have my entire life ahead of me, and I hope that someday the government will decide that people are more important than guns.