RHS students speak out about gun control

Kyleeanne Wood, Reporter

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Papers turning, pencils moving, students listening, then shots fire. Schools across the country have lost their sense of safety, on behalf of the number of school shootings; for example, the event that took place in Parkland, Florida. As a result, students across the country have voiced their opinions on the matter. “Its kinda one thing after another and we stop for our thoughts and prayers, but there is no real solution,” junior Alex Eastman said. “Obviously it’s very sad that people are getting killed, but it’s even more sad that our government isn’t really doing anything about it.” With the recent shooting in Parkland, Florida people across the country have taken this tragedy to reflect the past years of gun massacres. “They are preventable tragedies and an unacceptable loss of life,” sophomore Ethan Smith said. Due to these perspectives, students have formed possible solutions to these events; both cultural and political. The majority of people focus on the political aspect and how change needs to happen in our government; such as our gun laws. “It needs to be tougher,” Eastman said. “We need increased background checks.” Along with the number of shootings in our country, debate on stricter gun laws has also increased. “First and foremost we need to make sure that guns don’t get into the hands of people who don’t need them,” Eastman said. However, the idea of stricter gun laws is not something every American agrees on. “It’s a fair thing to be able to own something like that [gun],” sophomore Ethan Doan said. “I honestly do not think it’s a gun that kills, its the person behind the gun.” Stricter gun laws isn’t the only view on how to deal with shootings, another topic of debate is mental illness. “[Mental illness] is the most common link between all the shootings,” Smith said. “Nothing connects all the shooters like the fact that they were all unstable and unfit for weapon ownership.” Despite citizens views on mental illness, some Americans fear weapons in the hands of mentally ill people can be a danger. “One very recent mistake in regulation was the repeal of an Obama era bill, by the Trump white house, that prevented people suffering from certain mental illnesses from having guns,” Smith said. Subsequently, with worries about mental illness, students have taken it upon themselves to look in the eyes of others. “First of all we need to address the guns, but we also need to address more than guns,” Eastman said. “The problem is also mental health.” Eastman felt the school could be an important factor in helping. “Schools need to get more involved in with getting students more on track,” he said. “We as a school can identify people who are going off the rails. People will see our school system is failing.” A way to accomplish this goal is to take a look around us as proposed by Doan. “We need to be more visual on students actions and behaviors,” he said. “Keep more eyes on students.” Although the topic on how to solve shootings is unclear, Eastman has reflected the growth of students voices is heading us in the right direction. “For too long people like you and me have kinda been silenced,” he said. “I think it’s time for our voice to be heard.”

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