Growing Up in the Age of Mass Shootings

In 2018 alone, over 11,000 people died at the hands of gun violence in 307 mass shootings over a 312 day period (Business Insider), and countless more before that. These tragedies have occurred everywhere you could possibly imagine. Nowhere is off limits. Nowhere is sacred. Bars, homes, offices, airports, churches, concerts, day cares, hospitals, nightclubs, newsrooms, post offices, restaurants, preschools, synagogues, yoga studios, high schools, military bases, street corners, movie theaters, political events, middle schools, college campuses, baseball games, elementary schools, video game tournaments and more have become war zones. While previous generations have been shaped by economic crisis, international terror attacks or large-scale conflicts, my generation has been shaped by the everyday battle that is just leaving our homes with the hope to return.

Related: Mass Shootings: It’s Time to Act

Via Sun Sentinel

This country’s youth has been failed by Washington and by every previous generation, as “thoughts and prayers” have been chosen over policy and action. Gun control has long been shoved to the side as a difficult issue without a simple solution by nearly every politician that has held office since 1999, the year of the Columbine High School Massacre. No difficult issue in history has been solved by “thoughts and prayers” from people in a position to make change, and American gun violence is no exception. As the Democrats have retaken the House of Representatives following the 2018 midterm elections, many eyes have turned towards them for much needed action.

Related: I Don’t Understand the Love For Guns

Long ago, today’s youth were forced to realize that no one can truly be counted on to fight for you or your rights. In response, students have taken matters into their own hands by holding Washington and politicians all over the country accountable long before they even have the right to vote. Elijah Nichols, a George Mason University freshman, one of the founders and the Direct Action Lead for Students Demand Action GMU, says that “being one of the founder’s of the organization at Mason, I believe that it was important to have that safe space where we can create a conversation about change with gun violence prevention.” When his family was struck by tragedy at the hand of a gun at a young age, Elijah saw the immense and ongoing impacts on his family and said he is determined to ensure that no family has to go through what his did.

Via Ventura County Star

As a Government and International Politics major, I am motivated by my unwillingness to allow future generations to live in the kind of world we live in now, and I am not alone. America’s youth is motivated to step up and create change for the 58 murdered in the 2017 Las Vegas Shooting, the 49 murdered in the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, the 27 murdered in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the 17 murdered in the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the 26 murdered in the 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting, the 11 murdered in the 2018 Pittsburgh Synagogue shooting, the 12 murdered in the Thousand Oaks shooting (as of November 8, 2018) and every victim in the innumerable mass shootings (all numbers not including the perpetrator). It may be too late for them, but it is not too late for their families and everyone who will come after them. Washington and every previous generation may have failed us, but we’re unwilling to fail each other.