Students unite against violence
It's Christmas Eve as I write this — my brother's birthday. He turned 4 today, and soon he will be old enough to go to school. One can easily determine why, then, I was so petrified when I received the news about the Connecticut shooting.
As I learned that 20 children, all between the ages of 5 and 6, were violently murdered, the first person I thought of was my baby brother.
I was not alone in this feeling of petrification, however. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram were all lined with the mourns and lamentations of my peers. As River Valley High School students discussed the atrocities that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary along with the 24 other mass shootings in the last seven years alone, they demanded action.
Senior Danielle Soba captured the feelings of the school when she said, "God forbid this occurs elsewhere, but if it did, do we sit back and let it happen over and over? When will it stop?"
While every student agreed that something had to change, not everyone agreed on what that should be.
Many students viewed weak gun control as the problem. "We need to be more careful about the weaponry we put into people's hands, perhaps by including background checks when people purchase guns," said senior Lauren Well.
Others stood in clear opposition of any gun regulation. Senior Allison Sawyer said, "Gun control is not the answer. After all, guns don't kill people. People kill people."
Senior Michelle Dewey said, "Many citizens would want to be armed for protection against these shootings. It would be a better situation if citizens had something to protect themselves with in the occurrence of these shootings."
Most students, however, pointed to mental health as the true perpetrator. "If we look to recent shootings, we see that most of the culprits had a serious mental problem," said junior Simran Mahil. "It's time society recognizes mental disorders as a serious issue."
Senior Brooke Boeger agreed: "The government needs to provide more funding for behavioral health so these people can get the support they need. Only then will less people be at risk of being harmed."
Senior Megan Huffman called the citizens of Yuba City to action: "If your family or loved ones don't seem mentally stable, take note of that and be cautious."
While students are debating the topic at RVHS, politicians are doing the same on Capitol Hill. In fact, President Barack Obama has vowed to send new policy proposals for reducing gun violence to Congress by January.
Senior Shane Monaghan saw this as a step in the right direction. "Some action is better than no action," he said.
Indeed, action needs to be taken. And although we can't all agree on what exactly needs to happen, we all have a common resolution this New Year — to stand united in our efforts to stop this series of massacres — and we are confident we will keep it.
Alejandra Cervantes is a senior at River Valley High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.