Gun Control Is Everybody's Issue
Never Again. A Response to Blame Shifting, and in Honor of the National Walk Out
My dad came to visit me in New York, and like every artistic kid who has business-minded parents, we never really agree on much. We have different opinions on basically everything. Of course, growing up under the regimen of Dictator Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, politics are a reoccurring topic in our conversations. We've argued and discussed anything and everything; the republican and democratic party, liberals and conservatives, and even that one time when the cast of Hamilton read their eloquent letter to Mike Pence when he was in their audience, about their fears and concerns of what it would mean to have Trump be our 45th President.
Of course politics in the United States work completely different than politics everywhere else - however, it feels like policies in America are the only ones my dad and I seem to disagree on. We went to get breakfast and as we were sitting with my older brother, my dad pulls out his phone and reads this message that had been circulating among his WhatsApp contacts, that states that "95 percent of the shootings that have happened since the 1865 have been democrats, there shouldn't be gun control, there should be democrat control. Guns don't kill people, democrats do!"
I do have to admit that after hearing this, I got heated - being that I myself lived in south Florida for three years during my last years of high school, and knowing many individual people as well as families who have been affected by the Parkland shooting - the 17th school shooting, only in 2018, and the month of February wasn't even over.
Most statistics prove that the majority of gun owners and NRA supporters are self-acclaimed republicans (it's usually a little over 60 percent.) What shocked me, however, is how quick someone is to blame an individual group. Violence reigns through our cities, and states. How many more children are we going to have to lose and how many more hashtags are going to have to go viral before the country understands we need a change? How many more times is the FBI not gonna follow up on a tip and it results in losing over a dozen children?
The second amendment does in fact state that we have the right to bear arms - but there have now been almost 300 acts of gun violence at schools all around the country since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.
Nobody has the right to take someone's life. It doesn't matter what you believe in or who you vote for, your money and your shiny piece of weaponry that you attained ever so easily is not more valuable than a person's future.
There was a video that went viral on Lex Michael's Twitter handle (@lexforchange) of Michael Oliver, an artist and father of victim Joaquin Oliver, painting. Basketball player Dwyane Wade organized the "Parkland 17" on the Wynwood art walk, commemorating the 17 lives lost in Parkland, including Oliver's son. The video is heartbreaking, you see this heartbroken father paint "WE DEMAND A CHANGE" around the painting of Joaquin's face. His anger, his helplessness, his pain - you can even hear it in his breathe.
This is not a question of who you vote for next election - it's a question of what are we going to do to change what is happening in our country?
Food for thought: in the Netherlands, a school intruder with severe mental health issues entered a campus with two knives to try and attack the students - the students chased him off with their backpacks.
Imagine if every shooter's gun were replaced with a knife - what a different country it would be wouldn't it? All of those kids would of had a life, and a future.
Gun control isn't about where on the political spectrum you are, it's about being human. How many more lives do we need to lose before it becomes evident that gun control is, obviously, not optional anymore.
We will not stop fighting.
We will not lose more.
For the Parkland 17, we're doing this for you.