The 30th Mass Shooting
Florida has recently been shadowed in another mass shooting, robbing 17 people from their promising lives. This marks the 30th U.S. mass shooting of 2018, even though not even two months have passed. Since one can still walk up to the nearest Walmart and buy a rifle, I believe it is time to focus on how brutal violence can be avoided.
Dark times have come to the vivid city of Florida. On February 14th, young gunman Nikolas Cruz walked into his former high school, fired an AR-15 rifle and took a run among lots of students who were frightened to death. After Cruz treated himself on a beverage at a Subway restaurant and briefly sat down at McDonald’s, police officers gladly succeeded in tracking him down and arresting him.
According to U.S. News, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School ranked #623 in the National Rankings and earned a silver medal. This indicates that its students perform well on state-required tests and are being sufficiently prepared for college. Cruz has been expelled from the school, as well as other schools he attended, presumingly because he would have carried weapons with him on the regular. This scared off fellow students, who, according to The New York Times, joked that if someone would open fire inside a school, it would be Cruz. Well, honestly, who would say differently now? Way before all of this happened, the FBI was alarmed by a disturbing YouTube comment of Cruz, saying “Im going to be a professional school shooter.”
To this day, I am still utterly surprised by how signals fail to signify an actual danger. It is obviously hard to indicate danger from this caliber from just one comment on YouTube, but one can question oneself: “Why has nobody offered help to this ostensibly confused young man?” Even when his mother requested the police to ‘talk some sense in him’, it was all to no avail. It is unbelievably sad for all victims and relatives to have to cope with the deep pain Cruz has caused.
Grievously, mass shootings are ubiquitous in the United States. According to Gun Violence Archive, 2018 on its own knows 34 mass shootings. Keep in mind that we did not even reach March yet. To put it in a broader perspective: in 2017, there have been 346 mass shootings. That is nearly one mass shooting per day for the whole year. CNN showcases that from the 650 million civilian-owned guns worldwide, U.S. citizens own 48% of it. Out of ten people, four say that they either possess a gun, or live in a house with guns. Not very surprising if one realizes that ownership of a gun is protected by law.
Being from the Netherlands, it was a huge culture shock to casually walk into a Walmart and be able to buy a small gun or rifle. Basically, it was just up for grabs. Needless to say that it has requirements and is displayed behind glass, but the idea is still very disturbing and frightening to me. The very first thought that came into mind was that children are also walking around here. What kind of image do adults want to carry out towards them? That violence is always there to save one if one feels threatened? Or is it the idea of safety first? I felt speechless. As if the large numbers of incidents instantly became self-explanatory.
In the Netherlands, it is completely prohibited. According to the police, ownership of a gun – which, for example, also accounts for brass knuckles, butterfly knives and pepper spray – is punishable and considered a crime. The only exception would be if you perform shooting sport, hunting or own a license. According to RTL Nieuws, a Dutch news source, there have been 160 murder cases in 2017, which are not only categorized as gun shootings.
One of my friends was accidentally killed by a gunshot. Together with two guys, he was examining a gun they had attained. The gun was loaded with ammunition and after it unexpectedly went off, the bullet went in his head. He immediately died at the age of 18. It made a huge impact and left a lot of friends and relatives in disbelief. I do feel that the Dutch regulation is one that the U.S. can learn from. Firearms should neither be made accessible for civilians nor promoted in any way. One must educate oneself that violence in any form is bad, and that we can only grow as one humanity by accepting and respecting each other.