The 15th of February marked yet another day where absurd gun laws tragically took 17 young people’s lives. Donald Trump’s response to this atrocity has been nothing less than ludicrous — believing the solution to lie in arming teachers and coaches who have no experience of handling guns around minors.
America is notorious for its gun crimes. On average there is more than one mass shooting each day. America also has 4.4 per cent of the world’s population and half the civilians own guns — which makes it around 300 million guns. Knowing these astounding statistics you would think Trump — claiming to ‘make America great again’ — would tackle these issues with intelligence. But instead of limiting the number of guns, he is ultimately increasing the threat by introducing arms into schools.
This archaic legislation dates back to the American Revolution which granted people the right to bear arms. Surely, the American society has advanced from their dated idealisms enough to realise the impact it has had upon its children and young people. Introducing guns into the classroom, conditions children to believe from a young age that fire power is the key to solving all problems; promoting violence.
Arguably, school would no longer be considered a safe environment to learn in, with fear and the threat of attack constantly lurking at the back of students’ minds. But why have that when this issue could easily be solved with harsher gun laws?
Trump so graciously sends his prayers and condolences, exclaiming: ‘no parent should be afraid when kissing their children goodbye for school’ yet proposes to make schools a more dangerous place. It only takes one curious child to use a teacher’s gun. A teacher carrying a gun would not only threaten the students but also be a danger to themselves and the people around them. No teacher could happily pull the trigger on a child without any remorse, making the proposed legislation virtually useless.
Teachers are mentors and guides, trusted by students; not soldiers equipped to fight.
The head of the American Federation of teachers — Randi Weingarten — reinforces this point by saying:
‘Teachers don’t want to be armed, we want to teach; no amount of training can prepare an armed teacher to go up against an AR15’.
Why won’t Trump change the US gun laws? Interestingly enough the National Rifle Association (NRA) strongly backed Trumps campaign. They claim to ‘protect and defend the constitution’ by allowing guns to be freely sold. Essentially, this organisation is funding potential criminals.
Wayne LaPierre — the NRA head — claimed that ‘opportunists’ were ‘exploiting’ the Florida shooting and argued that people ‘hate individual freedom’. But this is completely deluded. People want their freedom to feel they can go to school and educate themselves without the fear of potentially losing their lives because of inefficient gun laws.
Eight fatal school shootings have taken place this year alone; that is eight too many. While 290 incidents have taken place since 2013, averaging one every week. These statistics are frightening, so why isn’t this taken seriously?
Trump has always been quick to act upon issues such as terrorism, with laws instantly put in place such as the travel ban on countries including Syria, Iran, and Chad. Trump is also quick to spend millions on a wall to ‘protect’ Americans. Isn’t gun crime a form of terrorism? ‘The unlawful use of violence’, so why isn’t this treated the same? Why is mental illness always to blame when at the forefront of the problem lies the very tool used to commit these disturbing crimes? A survivor said: ‘he wouldn’t have killed this many people with a knife’ and ‘this isn’t just a mental health issue’, showing that the problem lies with guns.
How can it be okay that a youth is allowed to buy guns at 18 but not alcohol? From the perspective of a UK student this seems deranged and utterly unacceptable.
After every shooting everyone claims ‘it’s too soon to talk about it’, but by the time these people are ready another incident has already taken place. Now is the time to talk.
Written by: Maaha Sohail and Daisy Togonu-Bickersteth, Year 12