Our View: Time to Act: After shooting in Florida, students need to seize chance to improve school safety

In this generation, as students, we have sadly seen so much gun-related violence, but what if we can be the ones to change it? Iowa City high schoolers walked out in protest against the Parkland, Fla., school shooting with many other high school students in America on Feb. 19 to show their opposition to school shootings.

When a student walks into school, the student should feel safe. School is a place of learning where people grow together, but that can’t happen when one feels a constant cloud of threat.

Some “mom” blogs on the Internet give tips on how their children should react if there is a school shooter in their school, such as counting how many exits there are available or things to throw at an intruder if it were to happen. Why should students even have to think about this?

We could just sit and wait for voting-age adults to make something happen in the Iowa legislature, or the U.S. Congress, but they’ve failed us after every school shooting since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. The time has come for young adults to make a difference.

People argue that school shootings can stop if we have better mental health or stricter gun laws. Overall, though, it is a culture problem. Guns are glorified in American culture as something that saves us from crime. Guns stop the bad people. Yet, time and time again, bad people use guns to kill innocent people.

There have been at least 97 mass shootings in America since 1982, according to Mother Jones magazine. In three-quarters of the cases, the shooters obtained them legally. Our system is a failure at stopping gun violence. Let’s not forget, though, that 15,549 people were killed by guns last year in the United States. Most of these were not mass shootings, and we did not hear about them.

Then there is the situation of us students. According to Slate magazine, “150,000 American students have experienced a school shooting.” No teachers or students need to endure the shock of traumatizing gun shots in school.

It’s time we watch out for one another. If something is going to make a difference in America, Iowa or Cedar Falls, it starts with student action.

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