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Op-Ed: Put Down the Gun

Hall High School students held a Walkout on March 14, 2018. Photo submitted by Elizabeth Pillow

West Hartford student Elizabeth Pillow, Hall ’19, shares her thoughts on gun control and arming teachers.

By Elizabeth Pillow

People often blame the shooter in gun-related incidents when they should blame the guns themselves. It is evident that our nation lacks strict gun control legislation and I believe that the administration is focusing on policies that will accomplish little to nothing on our gun reform.

Saeed Ahmed and Christina Walker from CNN wrote on Tuesday, March 20, “We’re only 11 weeks into 2018 and there have already been 17 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed. That averages out to 1.5 shootings a week.” There is no place for guns in classrooms and gun violence should not be present anywhere across the nation.

Let’s break this down and make things simpler.

Gun control must be enforced to reassure the American people that guns will not be brought into classrooms to kill innocent children. We urge for change and new regulations to end the ongoing epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings in this country.

There are a number of approaches we can take to lessen the fatalities due to assault weapons. The most obvious and effective solution would be to ban the sale of assault weapons. While this seems like a simple resolution, it is complicated due to Second Amendment and the deep pockets of the National Rifle Association.

First and foremost, although we may not be capable of convincing the entire government and the nation to completely ban specific guns, voters of good conscience must be the ones to rid the House and Senate of as many politicians who oppose gun control.

As a matter of fact, mercenary elected officials are downright amenable to accept donations from the NRA to support their campaigns. We cannot tolerate politicians who lie to us and receive donations from an organization that is tearing our country apart. Hence, it is our duty to rescind the politicians who oppose stricter gun control.

If you can’t change the laws, change the politicians who make them.

Secondly, we have to abandon the proposals of arming teachers, which have raged since 17 students and teachers were killed at a high school in Parkland, FL. About a month after the school shooting, Washington Post author, Alex Horton, wrote that Trump joined the school shooting discussion a week later, saying, “If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy … if he had a firearm he would not have had to run. He would have shot and that would be the end of it,” in a reference to the football coach, Aaron Feis, at the high school in Parkland.

In contrary to Trump’s thoughts, if Feis was armed, a more extreme incident could have occurred. For instance, additional students suffering from injuries due to the crossfire.

Where are our morals, and most importantly, our priorities?

Ordering teachers to be specially trained in firearms does not necessarily mean that school shootings will be non-existent. Suppose educators were to be equipped with assault weapons: more negligent discharges would occur. Therefore, arming teachers clearly violates the rights of the students and the teachers as well. If you support teachers being armed in classrooms, you are a part of this nationwide controversy. Bringing guns into classrooms are are not only distractions, but they also introduce a new risk factor for injuring students, teachers, and staff.

When you see it this way, you understand the enormity we are battling. There are many lawmakers aspire to see teachers armed. Trump also proposed “rigorous” gun training for some teachers. And later, Betsy DeVos, the Education Secretary, also asserted that arming teachers should be considered. Fearing that they might not make it home to their families should not be a thought that crosses the minds of students. Schools are not meant to be treated like military institutions.

And finally, we must stop sending our prayers and thoughts to the gun violence victims and their families. We must start creating policy and change. Praying and sending thoughts only suggests that the same process of school shootings will repeat: innocent school children are killed and we forget about it. Forgetting such egregious events will not contribute any new policies to our government.

The arguments against guns being brought into classrooms are reasonable enough. We have accepted the norm that school shootings will not stop. We are now on the front line to defend assault weapons, instead of trying to find a way to stop them. If guns were to be put into classrooms, I fear that school shootings will occur more and more. Classrooms are supposed to be a safe environment for students, not a war zone.

Elizabeth Pillow is a 16-year-old junior at Hall High School. She originally wrote this essay as a classroom assignment.

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10 Comments

  • It the inanimate objects fault?
    DUI car crashes are because of the car?
    More stabbings in London from Knives than guns in Chicago?
    Fact check please before spreading more of this Liberal propaganda.

    • This is a 16 year old person. Offer constructive criticism rather than labeling. We are supposed to teach our young people to observe, be curious, find out the facts and form their own opinions regardless of how we feel about it personally. Our young and older people need to read different opposing arguments rather than relying on social media and the news at times. It’s hard but it needs to be done so we can have real conversation with real facts.

      • Let me get this straight: you say – ‘she’s only 16? She’s only a kid. She shouldn’t be held to adult standards of reasoning or think critically about the consequences of what she espouses.’ Well, yeah, exactly. She’s a kid. She’s just been through unspeakable tragedy. And that’s why adults shouldn’t be using her or her friends to push their agendas on the rest of us.

    • Excuse me Damage,

      Your argument is mute. While it is not the fault of the gun by itself, shootings can’t be made possible without the thing that actually shoots: gun. A person can’t cause as much damage with their own bare hands; for the tragedies that we are witnessing currently, the machines are what makes the large number of deaths possible. On average, everyday 96 people are killed with guns…You can’t possibly argue that the same amount of deaths would be possible with only your bare hands.

      Check yourself please before spreading your ignorant stupidity.

  • “We’re only 11 weeks into 2018 and there have already been 17 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed. That averages out to 1.5 shootings a week.”

    This is false.

    “As a matter of fact, mercenary elected officials are downright amenable to accept donations from the NRA to support their campaigns. We cannot tolerate politicians who lie to us and receive donations from an organization that is tearing our country apart.”

    This is also false.

    “In contrary to Trump’s thoughts, if Feis was armed, a more extreme incident could have occurred. For instance, additional students suffering from injuries due to the crossfire.”

    Possible, but unlikely.

    Look, everything you know is wrong. Please stop trying to use emotional blackmail to deprive Americans of their natural, civil, Constitutionally-protected rights.

  • “People often blame the shooter in gun-related incidents when they should blame the guns themselves. ”

    No, we must always blame the person who commits the crime. Blaming an object that has no say over how it functions is idiotic.

  • Creating new laws isnt the way to solve the problem, enforcing existing laws and strengthening safeguards that are already in place can.

    The sheriff in parkland is guilty and negligent. Him and his office should’ve done something, 39 times the police were at the shooters house with nothing done…..insanity

    The FBI was contacted twice, another dropped ball

    The resource officer didnt react, 3 other officers showed up in the scene, nothing. no one did anything. Again, massive failure.

    If the police or FBI did their jobs the tragedy would have never happened. Where is their accountability?? 5 million NRA members are being held accountable plus the 100 million gun owners in this country. Sheriff Israel attack him…..

  • If we outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns. They’ll find some way to get one whether legal or not. Besides there are millions of guns now in circulation so there’s no way we can deal with this problem so easily. Are we going to confiscate everyone’s guns and leave the honest law abiding citizens powerless to defend themselves from the outlaws? This is a much more complicated issue than can be cured by a simplistic answer.

  • Outlawing guns in our society will only create more gun violence just the way prohibition created more organized crime and the violence it brings by driving gun sales to a black market. We have to learn from the mistakes of history and find a better solution. Better background checks and follow-up of suspicious characters by law enforcement agencies is a good place to start.

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