To: The United States House of Representatives, The United States Senate, and President Donald Trump
Support 13 Teen Activists in Demanding Gun Violence Prevention
I've lived in the US for fourteen years, which is really not a long time. But in that period - 2003-2018 - the US has stood witness to 187 school shootings.
187. That means that on average, school shootings happen more than once a month. Every month, some students sit for a Science test, some make a poster for History class, some turn in an English paper, and some see their classmates shot. Within this bloody routine, it’s not hard to foresee the next tragedy.
Still, somehow, we have evaded or postponed a solution. But this has to be confronted, and now. Any later, more of us could already be dead. If you imply through words or actions that gun violence doesn't need to be confronted decisively, you are telling me, my classmates, and all America's children: "I don't care whether you live or die."
School shootings aren't unavoidable. Without a gun, Nikolas Cruz couldn't have killed 17 people. There were dozens of reasons why he should've been kept away from the instrument he used to kill. But the laws gave him an easy road to murder. From your place behind those laws, I ask that you close off that road for once and for all.
- Lily Erickson Seltz
This recent school shooting in the U.S. has sparked the conversation for gun control once again, although this time uproar for gun reform has been taken into the hands of the students. In the past, the youth have stood up for their rights whether it was for the right to love, or for the rights of students in schools, and for the right to not be discriminated against by the government no matter their race, sexuality or gender, or rights of students in schools, and now, the youth have risen again.
First in Parkland, Florida, the students directly affected by the shooting in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have been peacefully protesting outside of their school, urging the youth to protest for gun reform. Many say that Cruz had mental health issues and that he needed help, and most youth protesters don't disagree with the fact that we need more mental health care to ensure the safety of students, but like the Stoneman Douglas High student Emma Gonzalez said, "He wouldn't have killed that many people with a knife." Their examples are being followed by more schools in Florida, and now, the message has been passed on to the rest of the youth in the US. The debate of gun control has now rolled around once again, but now students in Florida, and all over the country, are not letting it go.
On the morning of February 14th, seventeen people left their houses, unaware that it would be their last. Their parents can't remember if they said "I love you," and now they won't have the chance. Ever. Think about how permanent that is.
There were a handful of red flags concerning Nikolas Cruz; an obsession with weapons, a school expulsion, and mental instability, all of which should be reported in the future, but it is undeniable that without a gun in his hands, he couldn't have killed seventeen people. Seventeen people would be laughing with their families today, doing everything you do without a second thought.
But still, we hear the same set of rehearsed excuses from our government, pressing for reform which targets anything except the problem. In my fourteen years, there have been 187 school shootings; don't let this one fade into the background. Listen to our voices, because something needs to change, and we won’t stop until it does.
I am scared. And in your place, it is your responsibility to make me feel safe -- I ask that you push for laws that will.
- Sandhya Sethuraman
I heard about it that night: Parkland. Nikolas Cruz. School shooting. Seventeen dead. Seventeen dead, all thanks to a gun.
My parents told me, that night, to run the other way if I ever saw a shooter, to do anything as long as I stayed alive. What a world we live in, where our parents have to ask themselves if their children will come home.
Why do I have to worry about my life in a place that was supposedly safe? Why are there still guns that are floating around? Who dreams of shooting students, students with hopes and dreams just like us? What happens once someone like Cruz has access to weapons?
Schools aren't safe from guns. 187 school shootings in my lifetime, just fifteen years. We are sitting ducks in this matter, but not silent ones. I want action from those who have the power to act, not words that are only filled with empty words and lies. I don't want debates about our safety, I don't want this shooting to be forgotten for the 187nd time.
I just want action from you.
- Vanessa Liang
Our esteemed leader has outdone himself. In the wake of the horrific massacre of 17 students in Parkland, our president's brilliant solution to gun violence is arming teachers. Despite being ridiculously counter-intuitive and senseless, it was short enough to tweet and therefore was the best idea on the table.
Students my age are not only terrified of shoot...
Why is this important?
My name is Lily Erickson Seltz, and I'm beyond ready for change in our governmental policies on gun control to keep students like me - and Americans, young and old, in school and out of it - safe. Join me in calling on our government to act.
Organized and written by high-school students, and published on a teen-run website for journalism by high-school students (highlyindy.com), this letter is a compilation of 13 teenage voices sharing their thoughts and demanding action on gun control in the wake of the Parkland shooting - and the long-persistent problem of gun violence in America.
Please sign this petition - to be delivered to members of Congress - to support this powerful message. And please, students: add your thoughts and your voice in the "personal message" section as well to strengthen the statement.
Thank you for standing with me to demand a safer country for everyone.