Students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida hid behind desks and sent scared texts to their parents as a former student fired rounds from his AR-15.
Nikolas Cruz, 19, pulled the school’s fire alarm at about 2:20 pm to lure people into the hallways. He shot and killed 17 people.
Although he pled guilty to all of the charges brought against him, the situation is not over yet. His actions serve as the eighteenth school shooting in 2018 alone.
It’s time to see that the problem is not mental illness and radicalism. The problem is guns and how easily those people can access them.
Looking at the shooter, there were many very clear signs that he could end up doing something like this.
Classmates even used to joke around saying that if a school shooting were to ever occur, it would be at his hands. Cruz himself used to make similar jokes.
He had a history of erratic behavior, which then led to him being expelled from the school last year for disciplinary issues.
On social media, Cruz bragged about his collection of guns. He posted pictures on Instagram of animals that he had shot and killed.
He even once commented under a YouTube video “I wanna shoot people with my AR-15” and “I wanna die fighting killing s*** ton of people.”
So how is it that someone who was so open with his violence was able to buy a gun legally?
The problem lies in gun laws.
Florida doesn’t require people to register their guns or obtain a permit before buying one. People can as many guns as they want at once, and assault weapons aren’t regulated at all.
And while Florida does require a three day waiting period for handguns, one can get an AR-15, like the one Cruz used, in under 15 minutes as long as they clear a brief background check
To sum it up, it is as easy to buy a semi-automatic weapon as it is to buy new furniture.
After two mass shootings, one in 1987 and the other in 1996, the UK banned all handguns.
Following a mass shooting in 1996, the Australian government banned all automatic and semi automatic rifles, and installed an extensive background check for people who seek to buy handguns.
In both countries, gun violence declined afterwards.
American citizens own more guns than the citizens of any other country.
Gun homicide rates in the U.S. are 25.2 times higher compared to other developed nations.
Still, every time a school shooting occurs, which is happening much more frequently, nothing is done. No change is processed to fix the problem.
People will just talk about how it’s a tragedy, say their prayers, and move on without thinking about guns.
How many more people will have to die before people see that the issue is guns?