Politicians needs to be held accountable for mass shootings

Trevor Kanter

More stories from Trevor Kanter


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

Last week, the country witnessed yet another mass shooting. This time, 17 high school students were brutally murdered in their classrooms by a 19 year old boy named Nikolas Cruz.

When I turned on the news, I saw statements and tweets from politicians bending over backwards to prevent the phrase “gun control” from gaining any traction. The attack was quickly blamed on mental health issues instead of bad gun laws. Our president addressed the nation and did not even say the word “gun.” Our attorney general, Jeff Sessions, used the killings as a political power play to slam the FBI. Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, dismissed questions about gun control and said that all we need is more prayer. I was appalled, but not surprised.

The reason why every high ranking government official opposes gun control is because of the NRA. They have successfully joined the idea of the right to own a gun with American individualism.

Due to the NRA’s hold over Congress, the only action taken when mass shootings occur is in the form of meaningless prayer and a few words on loosely related topics like mental health.

But this corruption is no longer a surprise to me. What seems out of place is the lack of public outrage. How can we all sit idly by and watch our peers be killed time after time? Why aren’t we calling our congressman and forcing them to fight the NRA and support gun control? Why do we think it’s okay for a teenager, who can’t even buy a beer, to buy an assault weapon? The reaction to these shootings can’t just be prayer, it has to be action.

The fact that there is this lack of outrage highlights just how selfish we all are. After each attack, we pray for the victims and then turn our heads, not thinking that something so horrible could happen to us.

Parkland, Florida, the site of the shooting, was  the third safest city in the state. The reality is, if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.

Mass shootings have one constant: guns. The issue is not mental health. The issue is guns. What use do we have for a weapon like the AR-15 other than just having it? They aren’t needed for self defense. You can defend yourself with a pistol. Assault weapons are extravagant and dangerous and need to be banned. 

Nikolas Cruz legally purchased the weapon that he used to kill those 17 students. That shouldn’t be allowed. Banning these weapons would force those who wish to cause harm with them to turn to illegal sources.

Not only would this make it harder to obtain these weapons, it would increase both the price of the weapon and the likelihood a potential shooter would be apprehended before a shooting takes place.  

After the attack, I hoped that something might change – that I wouldn’t have that fear in the back of my mind that I might suffer a similar fate to those 17 kids.

I thought that maybe our government might step up and take action to prevent these tragedies from happening again.  That maybe this time we wouldn’t just pray for the victims, but show them that we care by making changes to our gun laws.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that nothing would change. The truth is, if the killing of 26 elementary school kids at Sandy Hook in 2012 wasn’t enough to convince the nation to support gun control, I’m not sure that anything will. After witnessing yet another mass shooting, I believe that we have reached a point in this country where such killing has become acceptable.