Wake Up, America!

It’s a cliché phrase, one which has been tossed around by conspiracy theorists for decades. But today, I mean it very seriously. Wake up, America.

Your children are being murdered en masse. In the first seven weeks of 2018, you have suffered no less than eight school shootings. Furthermore, the perpetrators are often not some kind of 50-year-old illegal immigrants who snuck assault rifles across state borders. They are overwhelmingly committed by young white American men, with legally obtained firearms. Men who were no doubt denied the help they needed, or whose victims’ reports to authorities were ignored. Some people have speculated that had the perpetrator been Black, or Mexican, or Middle-Eastern, the outcome would have been incredibly different. Trump said in a speech regarding the recent Florida shooting that “the difficult issue of mental health” should be tackled, when only last year he “repealed an Obama-era rule allowing the names of certain people on mental health benefits to be entered into a criminal database”. You made it a lot easier for people to access weapons, Trump, you cannot play the sympathy card now.

Moreover, gun-lovers, you cannot demand that school shootings should not be politicised. They must be politicised as soon as they happen, because we cannot dismiss this debate. I am not even an American, so technically none of this should affect me or my country, but it does. Europe is devastated by the preventable tragedies which keep occurring in America. There is a Zeitgeist, and this is evidenced by the students themselves, who are speaking louder than they ever have before against the defendants of the Second Amendment. One key example was the riveting speech of Florida school student Emma Gonzalez, who announced a student walkout and march on Washington, which she named “the march for our lives”. I cannot fathom why some American pro-gun parents are content to send their children to school, knowing that there is a high chance they won’t come home. I read accounts now where schoolchildren are dressing according to a school shooting drill: “if I wear these clothes, I can escape faster”, “I shouldn’t wear sneakers with lights because they could give away my position”. They’re children, not the CIA! They should not have to consider these things over their own grades!

Do you know what the Second Amendment says? “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”. The quote which has caused so much bloodshed was originally a reference to militias. Military forces. Not civilians. America, you’re a self-fulfilling prophecy – you wanted guns to begin with, now they’re becoming a necessity. Are you going to send your children to school with little AR15s of their own next? Will you train them to shoot before teaching them to read?

Your government system has turned schooling into a real-life Hunger Games; here, the survivors are the ones who get to sit their exams.

I fully support the upcoming student marches. We know that marches are effective, and I’ve no doubt they will be this time, too. I would send my thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims, but we all know by now that this does nothing to ease their pain. Instead, I send my support, and my hope that there will one day be enough pressure on the American Government to push through some effective mental health and gun legislation. Until then, perhaps America should focus on making more coffins.

“Home of the free, land of the brave”? To that, I propose a new, more accurate line: “Home of the ignorant, land of the murdered”. Wake up, America.

Angharad

 

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