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We deserve a future

Gun violence has ended the lives, plans of young people across the nation while officials continue to practice inaction in the face of tragedy

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Illustration by Charlie Holden.

Friday, the day we were sending the newspaper to print, we ran around McCallum tracking down seniors to find out what their plans were for next year, as it’s tradition that every senior’s plan is featured in our center spread of the final issue of the paper. But the same day, at Santa Fe High School in south Texas, a gunman killed 10 people—eight students and two teachers.

Those students had future plans, too. Their teachers might have been shedding a couple of tears watching them cross the stage after the countless hours they have put in to help them pass a class. They might share a final hug after graduation with whispers of good luck in their ears. Bright futures were ahead for these students. But they’ll never get to realize them. Celebrating our seniors and their bright futures while mourning the dead students who have no futures is not only saddening but infuriating.
Here we are writing another editorial about students dying because of a lack of gun control only a number of weeks from the last school shooting. We are tired of writing that thoughts and prayers are not enough and that we want gun control now. At this point, we don’t know what else to say to get our leaders to listen to us. The feeling of, “You do nothing until you yourself are affected,” has never been more strongly felt than it is right now. We live in a naive country that refuses to accept the fact that school shootings aren’t going to end with just thoughts, prayers and wishful thinking. The wakeup call for change should’ve been felt at Columbine, 19 years ago. That should have been the end of school shootings and the end of guns being easily purchased and the final credits to this horror movie that we have been living in for far too long now.

The facts are all there; this is more than just a “godly” issue as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott claimed it was at the NRA convention in Dallas a couple weeks ago. After that statement, Abbott is now saying that he is calling on lawmakers to find common ground and pass gun-regulation legislation. This reversal of opinion from the highest ranking leader in this state is deeply disappointing. The governor was silent after Parkland. Not heard from after Sandy Hook. San Bernardino? No comment. So now as he finally thinks it is time for gun laws and finally time for some partisan corporation, we wonder, is this only because he felt as if we were directly affected as Texans?

We pay the price of the lack of gun regulation from cities all over the country. These students are the ones who are going to pay the price for unchecked gun violence These students will never get the chance to share their talents with the world because they were not able to survive one of the final weeks on school. All the students involved in the shooting and their futures have now been plagued with the image of classmates and administration in absolute panic at a situation over which they had no control. These students trusted their leaders and looked to them as role models, not expecting to see them in fear. But now, these students have seen the weak link: lack of gun regulation. The fine line that we now walk is the fear and the guilty relief of seeing the name of a school that is not our own on the news and thinking, “at least it’s not us.” We no longer think it will not be us but that it is only a matter of time until it is us. We now want to implement active shooter drills and learn the signs of a “potential mass shooter” because we want to be prepared when it happens. Not if, but when.

The students at Santa Fe high school never experience the change. They never got the chance to see what may happen if we do know the warning signs and have an active shooter drill. But they most certainly will never know what real gun regulation looks like because our elected leaders do not know how to drop partisan opinions and make it happen.

But for now, we will see fewer seniors at high schools across the country walk to the stage to accept their diplomas because of another person has gotten his hands on a gun too easily. Do not let the time you think gun regulation needs to be implemented be when you are suddenly reading memorial invitations when you should be reading graduation announcements.

This editorial was originally published on May 22 in our sixth and final print issue of the 2017-2018 school year.

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We deserve a future