High School Student: ‘We Can’t Turn Our Backs on America’s Gun Problem’ (OPINION)

May 27, 2022
1:15 PM

A child looks at a memorial site for the victims killed in this week’s shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Friday, May 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

CHICAGO — Once again, here we are listening to the news about another shooting, which is a very sad story: 18-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 19 students and two teachers.

This is not the first time or the last, sadly, that we will hear about a school shooting. But once again, people in power pay their condolences and move forward without even acting upon it, and the whole cycle keeps on repeating again and again—mass shooting, then media extravaganza, thoughts and prayers, gun debates on social media, no one ever actually does anything, and then back to “normal.”

The debate on gun control has been an issue in this country for the longest. In 1968, two weeks before Martin Luther King would be shot down in Memphis, then-presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy gave a speech in which he talked about gun control.

“Demonstrators shout down government officials and the government answers by drafting demonstrators,” Kennedy said. “Anarchists threaten to burn the country down —and some have begun to try— while tanks have patrolled American streets and machine guns have fired at American children. I don’t think this is a satisfying situation for the United States of America.”

Less than three months after speaking these words, Kennedy too would be assassinated, just as his brother before him.

Now we are in 2022, and this is still a problem. On December 14, 2012, in the biggest school shooting in U.S. history, 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 20 students and six teachers, and no one in power did anything.

Just two weeks ago, 18-year-old Payton S. Gendron killed 10 people and injured three others at a supermarket in Buffalo, and no one in power has yet to take action then either.

One outstanding fact that should alarm many people is that we are 114 days into 2022 and there have already been 212 mass shootings in our country. This goes deeper than what the general public thinks. Are we the problem, or is the government to blame?

There is this persistent ideology in our government that if you are a Democrat you shouldn’t agree with Republicans, and vice versa. There are 50 senators right now who refuse to vote against H.R.8, a bipartisan bill that was introduced in 2021 by Democratic Rep. Mike Thompson of California and would close loopholes in the background check laws, ensuring background checks on all gun sales.

“There’s 50 senators, right now, who refuse to vote on H.R. 8,” said Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr on Tuesday. “There’s a reason they won’t vote on it: to hold on to power.”

Kerr’s own father was shot and killed in 1984.

Such a law would minimize the gun violence in this country—not the whole thing, but one small step would set this country on the right path. Since 2009, the United States has had 288 school shootings, more than any other country in the world.

  1. Alexandria Aniyah Rubio
  2. Alithia Ramirez
  3. Amerie Joe Garza
  4. Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez
  5. Eliahana Cruz Torres
  6. Eliana “Ellie” Garcia
  7. Eva Mireles
  8. Irma Garcia
  9. Jackie Cazares
  10. Jailah Nicole Silguero
  11. Jayce Luevanos
  12. Jose Flores
  13. Layla Salazar
  14. Makenna Lee Elrod
  15. Maite Rodriguez
  16. Miranda Mathis
  17. Nevaeh Brav
  18. Rojelio Torres
  19. Tess Marie Mata,
  20. Xavier Javier Lopez
  21. Uziyah Garcia

These are the names of the people who were killed in the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday. Is it far more important to protect the Second Amendment than to protect our nation’s children? It seems so for some in power. This shouldn’t even be something for debate, but sadly it is.

Election Day is coming up, and there are a total of 469 seats in the U.S. Congress —34 of them in the Senate— which are up for grabs on November 8. Members of Congress should get stuff done, because we shouldn’t be sitting here just numb.

“I ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence and school shootings and supermarket shootings—I ask you, ‘Are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers?'” Kerr asked on Tuesday. “Ninety percent of Americans want universal background checks, but there are those 50 senators who don’t want to vote in favor of that despite what the American population wants.”

On Wednesday Sen. Ted Cruz( R-TX) attended a vigil for the victims of the Uvalde shooting, and when asked by a British reporter about why mass shootings like this “only happen in America,” he stormed off.


The rest of us can’t afford to run away from our gun problem.


Juan Arellano is a junior at John Hancock College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois.