High school students open up about how lawmakers have failed them
Following the latest school shooting in Parkland Florida, it’s become evident that the most important voices we need to hear aren’t those of politicians, or people on social media. They’re the voices of teenagers — those affected directly by gun violence, and those who have to go to school everyday wondering if their school is next.
Writer Maureen Johnson decided to elevate those voices on Twitter yesterday, and what they have to say is profound.
She addressed a tweet to teens only, asking them their honest thoughts about gun control and gun violence.
Open thread, teens only please (up to and including 18). Please tell me, because adults are failing you, what are YOUR feelings about gun violence and gun control? Only teen voices, please.
— Maureen Johnson (@maureenjohnson) February 16, 2018
Responses from teenagers all across the country ranged from anger at the apathy shown by politicians to fear over going to school. All of the replies proved beyond a shadow of a doubt we shouldn’t ever underestimate teenagers, their strength, and their knowledge.
I’m angry because this is preventable. But i have hope. Because I’ll be 18 by November. And so will a bunch of my classmates. If politicians don’t act, my generation will vote them out of office. We refuse to go to school everyday in fear.— sarah 🐢 (@tuatarasa) February 17, 2018
Some of my friends are now afraid to come to school because they're worried something like this could happen at our school that has close to 4,000 students. We're seniors right now, we should be enjoying our last few months of school but instead we worry.— ✨ (@overbakedstyles) February 16, 2018
I also know that in a months time when I turn 18 I am registering to vote and during the midterm elections I will vote for any person who hasn't been bought by the NRA.— ✨ (@overbakedstyles) February 16, 2018
You know what? The kids are alright. Actually, they’re more than that — they’re better than us adults.
(18, freshman in college) I think our politicians would have us think that gun control can't work here, but I look at pretty much every other first world country and see it working and actively preventing gun violence and saving lives. Something must be done to protect human life— ✨Dae✨ (@RunawayDae) February 16, 2018
(17, high school senior) I’m fine with the right to bear arm but no civilian needs an assault rifle and nobody should be able to get a gun without a comprehensive background check, a gun safety workship, and a license to care. I feel like the government is failing to protect us— laurita (@_sassylaur) February 16, 2018
(I turn 18 next week) I grew up scared that my dad would be the next abusive man to shoot his wife, my mother, dead. I've had this fear for my entire life, and if there was stricter gun control, meaning if my father was not able to buy any more guns, I would feel so much— listen to 28 days in the valley (@Allegrcat) February 17, 2018
Better, not just for myself but also for my mom. My entire life I have seen story after story of gun violence and mass shootings and I'm terrified that my mom or me or my siblings will be the next people in the news (although considering how much gun violence there is, I doubt— listen to 28 days in the valley (@Allegrcat) February 17, 2018
Many of these young adults are able to articulate their thoughts into a solid argument against lax gun laws better than lawmakers.
I just can’t understand why an 18 year old would need a combat assault rifle that’s meant to kill multiple people at once. It’s not a hunting gun unless it’s a manhunt. Stricter gun laws will take the leniency away from the situation. There’s no reason why an 18 year old needs it— Kat (@kkenn13) February 16, 2018
I don't understand why any non law enforcement & non military people can access AR-15s. I don't like the idea of my teachers being armed. I don't like looking around in my classroom wondering what I could use as a barricade/weapon/where to hide.— Aria (@aria_hughes) February 17, 2018
Students are now forced to look at their schools as potential war zones, and there’s absolutely nothing OK about that.
I’m 17 now and I can’t even count the number of shootings I’ve had to watch happen on the news. We need change. This is not an America I want to raise children in. This is not an America I want to be an adult in.— Madison 💕✨💫 (@lekinroHnosidaM) February 16, 2018
I’ve lost all faith in humanity, we do not need semiautomatic or automatic rifles of any sort, and if I can’t legally buy alcohol until I’m 21, I SURE AS HELL SHOULDNT BE ABLE TO BUY A GUN, thank you— Cate-Cat (@HermaeaM) February 17, 2018
Another argument I’ve seen a lot of from the pro-gun crowd is that mass shootings are the result of “bad parenting” and “entitled millennials.” Which is interesting, considering all of these eloquent and powerful responses from today’s youth speak volumes against that very “argument.”
Adults in my life have said it’s not guns but “the self centered narcissism and babying of kids these days,” like millennials automatically think that mass murder is the answer. We don’t. It’s a matter of mental health conditions being blamed and left to get worse because no one-— sentient grave dirt (@cthuhlhu) February 17, 2018
in power wants to do anything because mental health makes them uncomfortable. It’s a problem of people having access to guns 24/7, automatic machine guns available like candy, because people think the constitution intended for them to be able to murder 100s at any given moment.— sentient grave dirt (@cthuhlhu) February 17, 2018
Hi, hello — Millennial Mom here. I grew up amidst the dawning age of participation trophies and not-always-necessary ego boosts. I also experienced my fair share of childhood trauma, depression, and anxiety. I can also tell you I’ve never once felt like buying an assault rifle and committing mass murder.
my high school only spent one day on sex ed. we've spent much more time than that doing active shooter drills. it's messed up that i've spent more time learning how to hide from a shooter than my own health.— Kate Ozawa (@AlohaKatie) February 17, 2018
Wow. That’s the harsh reality of what many of our schools are forced to prioritize.
I feel betrayed by the adults who think gun control won't do anything so won't inforce it.— Swift Firebolt (@CharlotteFinn17) February 16, 2018
Today’s high school students are exceptionally more aware, empathetic, motivated, and angry than generations of teenagers past. Because of those qualities and more, their collective power is going to be what finally changes our world.