"Enough Is Enough": An Open Letter About the Parkland Shooting

February 14th, 2018 was a day that rocked the nation. The unarmed were up in arms and many who were armed put down their arms. It was the last straw for many when it comes to school shootings. 17 students and faculty members were killed as many others were gunned down by 19-year-old, Nikolas Cruz, at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

It was the deadliest school shooting in the United States since 2012, when 28 were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Cries were heard far and wide for the government to change the gun laws, with opposition from those who wanted a complete ban on guns and those who wanted to arm teachers.

The varying views that came to light after this incident caused a lot of controversy. It could be from different backgrounds, experiences, and education revolving around guns that has caused this but what’s obvious is that it’s time for something to change. There’s so many different ideas and opinions being thrown around, but I figured I’d share my two cents being a female of color who grew up with guns.

From the time I was a baby, my father, an African-American from Kentucky, would hunt deer to give food to friends and family. Because of this, I learned how to hunt and how to shoot guns. I got a pink BB gun one year to practice target shooting and a few years later I got a hunting rifle.

From a young age, my dad made sure I knew the importance of gun safety and how to handle any situation. I was taken to hunting safety courses and gun ranges and taught by a wide variety of people and have gotten certified for shooting a few years.

I’ve shot hand pistols, .22 rifles, and sniper rifles before so I’m fairly comfortable with a firearm. I never went around broadcasting that this was something I did at times but when it did come up, people would be either shocked that a quiet, small person like me would be comfortable with that stuff or be defensive for the same reasons. I’ve had many discussions about gun control with a few of my friends and they assume I’d be pro-gun and that everyone should be strapped from the time they turn 12 but that simply isn’t the case.

Yes, I grew up with firearms. No, I don’t think everyone should be able to get a firearm. I’ve seen how powerful these weapons can be up close and I don’t believe that we need all the power that is available to us.

I grew up with firearms but I’m still scared of getting shot at because the wrong person was able to purchase and use one. I’m most comfortable with a single shot shotgun, which is a shotgun that you reload after every round fired off.

I’m slightly less comfortable but still okay with pistols that don’t have high magazines because that is what most law enforcers use and regulate. (Law enforcement and firearms is a separate issue that I’ll save for later). Anything else seems excessive. You don’t need an automatic rifle to go hunting and many times, it only takes one shot from a pistol to get your point across.

I think that the best way to stop gun violence, especially given the recent events in our nation, is to educate people on gun safety, educate people on mental health, and have a tighter regulation on the type of firearms that are able to be purchased.

Whether people will agree or not is a separate issue but from my perspective, those three things can make a big impact on the amount of gun violence we see. Hopefully, talking about these issues that we’ve become desensitized to can promote a better and safer tomorrow.