Home Of The Brave, Land Of The Free

The overall mood after each school shooting (or any shooting) is different. I remember Columbine in 1999. It was the first one I was old enough to be fully aware of. I remember the feelings of despair, of rage, of disbelief, of frustration, of sadness, of fear. I remember Katie Couric from The Today Show interviewing the survivors the next day. I remember crying with them. I remember I could barely sleep for some time after that day. I remember thinking that something would change, that something would be done, that our leaders would act with swiftness to keep us safe. I remember thinking we lived in the United States of America, and these things were not supposed to happen. We take care of each other. No man left behind. “They” will do whatever is necessary to keep us safe.

I was already out of High School in 1999. I was actually graduating from College that year. I was a young adult that believed that the United States was the greatest nation on earth and there was NO WAY that our leaders wouldn’t rectify whatever flaws were in our laws that allowed this horrible thing to happen. It was an isolated incident in my mind, at that time.

Assault rifles (semi-automatic weapons, weapons of war, etc) had been banned 5 years earlier, in 1994 (and they continued to be banned until 2004). The 2nd Amendment had been in place since 1789 (for 210 years at that time).

Second Amendment:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”

Prior to the Columbine shooting though, it was not a trend, or something that we lived with, it wasn’t our reality.  Flash forward to today. The day after the Parkland, FL shooting. It was an affluent school, in a very safe and happy middle to upper class neighborhood. It is located 45 minutes away from my home. I know this community. It is in my state. The sadness and defeat I feel today is overwhelming at times. Yet, I also see things so clearly. I am 20 years older than I was during Columbine. I hear everyone arguing about gun control, about mental illness, about how in Australia and in other countries in Europe these things only happened once, and the government stopped all weapons access and the problem was solved. Never happened again.

But…we live in the United States of America, Home of the Brave, Land of the Free. We are not like other countries. We are especially NOT like any country in Europe. In those countries, when children get slaughtered, society decides that the rights of the individual do not outweigh the rights of society as a whole, and they decide that dead children is too high of a price to pay for individual freedoms. This is not the case here. Society as a whole, has decided that the right to bear any and all arms is of utmost importance, and if the price to pay is slaughtered children, then that is the price our society is willing to pay.

We also believe in freedom from persecution without the due process of law. So when this kid was expelled, when this kid was clearly a danger to his peers and to society, when this kid was reported to the FBI and to the local Sheriff back in September, 5 months ago…when he submitted a comment on YouTube saying he would be the next school shooter and a vlogger reported him to YouTube, and YouTube reported him to the FBI…No one, not a single entity was able to do anything.

In the year that he was expelled for violent behavior, none of these issues were included in his “file” so that when he went to a store to legally purchase a gun, he passed the background check with flying colors. He was able to purchase a weapon of war, an AR-15 (and enough ammunition to kill hundreds of innocent people) easier than he could have purchase alcohol…because he was 18 years old…and to buy alcohol you need to be 21 years old in the State of Florida.

Given you are also innocent until proven guilty in the United States, there was nothing anyone could have legally done to stop this kid. Until he killed someone, there would be no reason to arrest him or commit him, based on our current laws.

The truth is that there are a million things that contributed to this shooting, to this kid turning into what he is, to our society being complacent with this type of horror. The truth is also that nothing will change. Nothing will truly be done and shootings will just become worse and more frequent as gun technology increases and the accessibility becomes even easier. After each shooting, all politicians send out messages of prayers, they say this is not acceptable, they say things will be done to prevent this from ever happening again, yet time and time again, we are in the same place. Survivors and victims and outraged members of society scream and cry, yet the end result is always the same, nothing changes.

The truth is that there have been school mass shootings and other mass shootings during Democrat Bill Clinton’s 8 years in office, during Republican Bush’s 8 years in office, during Democrat Obama’s 8 Years in office, and 307 mass shootings in 2017 and 18 mass shootings in just the two first months of 2018, all while Republican Donald Trump has been in office. These shootings are now a trend, a thing that we are expected to live with, that we have become complacent to.

Why you ask? Because we are The Home of the Brave, Land of the Free. The United States is incapable of changing its core values. We value bravery, so going to school or work every day is now an act of bravery, because we are strong and brave we just pray and go and hope we don’t die. We send our children to school and tell them to be brave to be strong and we hope that they don’t die. And the Land of the Free will not, under any circumstances arrest someone that has not yet done anything…so all the twitter flare ups about mental health and not allowing dangerous people to own guns, just refers to people that have already been in jail? committed? basically until someone has actually killed someone, they are free to scare the hell out of an entire school.

An entire faculty and and an entire student body knew in their gut that this kid was going to be a school shooter one day. Yet…not a single law is in place to allow this to be something law enforcement can actually act on. Because if there were a law, then what if individuals were persecuted without cause? what if a rumor caused you to be arrested when you had done nothing wrong? Individual rights trump society’s rights in this country. It is at the core of what this country is.

Gun control, the 2nd amendment…these things are the icing on the cake and both have been around all the while shootings kept happening,and before shootings were a trend. If the ingredients used to bake the cake of this country are dysfunctional, there is no way fixing the icing will truly change the taste of the cake.



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