Gun violence, an ‘everyday’ occurrence for young people

#gunviolenceneedstostop, #momsagainstgunviolence, #gunreform, #thisisamerica, #massshootings, #suicideawarness, #guncontrolnow, #sandyhook, #columbine, #parkland, #buffalonewyork, #uvalde, #pulsenightclub, #sutherlandspringtexas.

These hashtags have been seen by most people in America. Been heard by most people in America. Engrained into the minds of most people in America. Been shared by most people in America. And yet, the central problem continues to persist: gun violence. Reports of mass shootings have become a norm, whether at a school, church, nightclub, or community holiday celebration. A time when Americans semi-unite, sending prayers and condolences to those affected. Along with condolences, resharing of informative posts go around social media. 

Generation Z has been widely exposed to the effects and realities of gun violence from a young age. Seeing the rise in mass shootings and the killings of those their age has left a mental scar on many – even those who haven’t personally been in a shooting. Children as young as five are taught how to hide from a shooter at school. Parents have to have talks with their kids about what to do if they ever encounter such a situation before sending them off. This is the reality that most children grow up in: preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.

“No one even fights anymore,” Diana Razzetti stated.“It’s like the first thing we go to is violence, which I think is very ignorant.” 

Children being led out by police and teachers after the Sandyhook Elementary School Shooting on December 14, 2012.
Police and teachers lead children away from Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday, Dec. 14. (Shannon Hicks Newton Bee/AP)

According to the CDC, gun violence is not lowering; instead, it is rising by 35% between 2019 and 2020. More frightening statistics on gun violence from show that 3 million children a year in the US witness a shooting. On top of that, 52 children in America are shot every day. From being a witness to gun violence, research has shown these kids are more at risk for participating in violent behavior, suffering from PTSD, and depression, displaying antisocial behavior, and stunted emotional development. 

“It changed my view on people [the effects of gun violence] and how people can be so vulnerable to it without even knowing it,” Tatiana Dozier commented. “And it’s just innocent people getting gunned down every day and… it hurts.”

Reducing gun violence isn’t just a political issue it is systematic. African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be victims of gun violence than their white counterparts. This is due to systematic racism and oppression. Fewer resources have been given to neighborhoods with a higher rate of violence and minorities, allowing violence to continue.

“Gun violence kills us,” Priscilla Eklng stated. “And takes away the life of many, not allowing them to live their life.”

Emotions of anger, frustration, rage, sadness, and discontent have been found among the student body. A familiar feeling has been found among students, even those who haven’t been in a shooting firsthand. 

There is a unifying feeling among many that something has to be done about gun violence, not next year, ten years from now, or next month, but now. The violence has to stop now.