On Valentine’s Day, 2018, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 students at Parkland High School in Florida (NYTimes, National Public Radio, NBC News. Cruz had been expelled the year prior for disciplinary reasons. The FBI admitted knowing about his threatening and alarming posts on Twitter and on YouTube, though they did nothing to follow through on the calls citizens made to present the concerns. Cruz had actually acquired the gun, an AR-15, legally, since he was a legal adult. Although he was a mentally disturbed teenager, the gun vendor did not hesitate to allow him to purchase the gun. Nothing showed up in his background check (how was that possible, given that he had told the world in a YouTube comment that someday he planned to become a professional school shooter?!).
This laissez-faire attitude towards gun rights NEEDS TO STOP. NOW. Yes, we want to protect the 2nd Amendment. Yes, we want to stay sane. But in order to do both of these things, we need to be alive and well!
We need more free or low-cost resources for preventive mental health care in schools and in general. We also need to allot more funds to education in our state budgets to provide certified counselors and therapists to serve the young people at our schools.
The data show that the United States does not exhibit higher instances of mental illness relative to other developed countries (NPR). If this is so, then we must think about the easy availability of guns to Americans as a potential root cause of this issue. If we made guns incredibly difficult to acquire in the first place, then there wouldn’t be opportunities for mentally ill individuals to shoot other people. In fact, when anyone goes off the handle feeling passionate, they would have to resort to other means to harm other people – most of which would either be “low throughput” (e.g., a knife attack), or premeditated (e.g., poison or date rape drugs in a drink).
Want to stay alive for the next year? For all intents and purposes, you or your children could be the next victims of gun violence! This is why we will march.
Want to join me at the Dallas event? Click here for the details. Select “Going” for the event status, then leave a comment to the #femmebosssquad page if you’re going!
Details for the Dallas event (in case you don’t have Facebook but still want to join!):
Saturday, March 24
Dallas City Hall
1500 Marilla St.
Dallas, TX 75201
Activities are planned in the following cities:
North Carolina: Buncombe County
South Carolina: Charleston
Kentucky: Marshall County
Minnesota: Saint Paul
Utah: Salt Lake City
Puerto Rico: San Juan
Massachusetts: Boston (to be held at Boston Common)
New Jersey: Morristown
Oklahoma: Oklahoma City, Tulsa
You can also look through the March For Our Lives Facebook Feed to see which other cities have been added since the time this article was written.
Relevant Hashtag: #neveragain
Hannah Stringfellow is a freelance blogger and world traveler. She holds an M.S., Chemistry, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her interests include women’s empowerment, health and wellness, and cross-cultural competency.