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Enough is Enough- Florida School Shooting

Fanny Zhang, News Editory

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On Wednesday February 21, 2018, hearts across the country were filled with anger, sympathy, sadness, and disappointment as we heard the news of another school mass shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead. The 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, ranging from ages of 14 to 19, were taken when an 18 year-old gunman in an unstable mental state, entered the school with an assault rifle and opened fire on students and teachers. With about a total of 18 school shooting since 2018 started in just the U.S alone, it is clear that there are underlying issues that we as Americans just aren’t addressing, or we are  just simply not taking the right or a big enough step in the correct direction to resolve these problems. As the investigation continues to dig further into this incident, more and more information is revealed on how this horrific incident could have actually been potentially prevented. This deadly shooting has opened our eyes to what we are becoming so blind to, and it’s time that we address the serious issues that lay within this American society surrounding the weak gun laws that don’t inhibit gun violence, the mental health system for neglecting to care for troubled individuals, and even our friends, families, and our next door neighbors for ignoring the distinct signs of an individual in desperate need of help.

Living in America, I hear constant reports of mass shootings or deaths caused by guns. Only making up 5% of the world population, American shootings make up approximately 31% of all the global shootings. Eventually, as we continue to hear these words, many others, including myself, have found ourselves “immune” to these events. We shrug our shoulders, and depict it as nothing new, completely losing grasp of severity of the event. But the fact is, events like these, whether it is the 50th time or the 1st time, should always be viewed the same. In all of the circumstances, an individual who is clearly in an unstable mental state, got easy access to a gun, and decided to open fire not just at schools, but at clubs and airports as well. These elaborate events weren’t planned the day or week before. These malicious and detailed plans must have taken weeks or even months of arranging before being executed. During these time periods of planning, no one had stopped them, or have even noticed these suspicious activities, and cared enough to take any actions. This shows that this is more than just about the troubled person themselves, but everyone around them as a whole.

As humans, it is in our nature to socialize and interact with one another. And through these interactions, we’re able to easily pick up senses that give us impressions of one another. According to some of the students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the shooter was a troubled student that had mental issues and many red flags in his personality. Now the question is why didn’t anyone speak up in attempt to provide this student with help. As a society, we tend to ignore the issues we stumble upon if it doesn’t directly affect ourselves. We stay quiet about a problem that supposedly isn’t our own, so that it doesn’t become our own. As America’s youth mental health is worsening, about 76% are left with no or insufficient treatment. It has become our responsibility as family, friends, and even neighbors to carefully watch for concerning signs, and take the initiative to speak out and bring assistance to those in need. Furthermore, the underfunded American Mental Health System simply hasn’t been able to help everyone individual with mental illnesses. Some physicians even have trouble diagnosing mental illnesses, even further suggesting the lack of attention this area of health receives. The shortage of professionals within the system has lead to two-thirds of the diagnosed individuals with no treatment and no help. A large branch that requires work, is the improvement of the overall mental health system in our society.

Lastly, the common thread that runs throughout all of these mass shootings, would be the use of guns. Over and over again, we see cases were people are able to legally get access to gun, despite any concerning flags in their past records. With weak gun laws that basically can’t do much to stop a dangerous person from getting their hands on a gun, it’s time that we demand for stricter laws and more regulations. It’s time that we all open our eyes to see what we’ve become so blind to, and do something more than mourn and move on.

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