OUR VIEW: Democrats, Republicans must work together on common sense legislation to prevent future school shootings

Published 3:50 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2022

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On Tuesday, as voters in Troup County and around Georgia went to the polls to elect new federal, state and local leaders, news broke of a national tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.

In Uvalde, an 18-year-old high school student walked into Robb Elementary School and killed 19 students and two teachers. Others were also wounded.

Media reports say that the students killed were all in one classroom.

It’s an unthinkable tragedy — the type of incident that should never happen. No one should ever wonder if their child is going to get shot and killed when they are dropped off for school in the morning, a safe place to grow and learn.

But it’s not unthinkable any more, is it?

The shooting at Stoneman Marjory Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was four years ago. Seventeen were murdered and 17 others were injured.

The Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was 10 years ago. Columbine was in 1999. A shooting at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas was four years ago. These are the types of events that we shouldn’t be able to list in quick succession, but any adult in America can quickly name a list of mass shooting incidents in schools.

Every time an incident like this happens, everyone is angry and frustrated. We yell at the TV “what’s wrong people? What’s wrong with this country? How does this happen?”

Everyone with any platform tweets about it — celebrities, athletes, politicians. Many write that they are praying for the victims. Others use it as a chance to advocate for stronger gun control.

Republicans and Democrats alike take to the television and yell about what needs to happen to ensure this never happens again.

The president — whether it was Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, etc. — gives a speech advocating for what they believe will make it harder for a gunman to ever enter a school again.

Then, in a few days, we’ll all lose focus on it. We’ll go back to work, get back to our everyday lives and the pressures that exist personally, and we’ll move on.

And then, inevitably, it’ll happen again. And then the cycle repeats.

And it has to stop. How can we, as Americans, continue to let this happen? We need to demand more from our leaders in Washington, and by that we mean Republicans and Democrats. Emphasis on the “and.”

At some point, both sides have to come together and agree on how we stop this from happening.

Mass shootings are all too common in our country, especially when you compare what happens in the United States to the rest of the world. And we’re not just talking about school shootings. Any mass shooting is one too many, like the senseless one that just occurred in Buffalo where a man shot people who were just buying groceries.

We’ll admit that it’s hard to prevent a shooting at any place in the entire country at any given time, though we think tougher laws on owning a gun would be a place to start.

That doesn’t mean to take away guns. It means that owning a gun shouldn’t be as simple as just walking into a store — it’s a process that should involve an extensive background check, a waiting period and required safety training.

We also agree that there’s a societal problem as well. How are we helping the mentally ill? What in the world would cause anyone to want to pick up a gun and shoot at kids?

Every adult reading this has been through this too many times now.

Too many times we’ve been stunned to see children running from a school shooting, and parents grieving the loss of a child gone way too soon. Too many times we’ve asked ourselves why.

And yet, here we are, 23 years after Columbine, asking the same questions. Wondering the same things. Has anything changed?

At some point, we have to demand more of our leaders. We need solutions. We need Republicans and Democrats to take off their red and blue colored glasses and sit at a table and figure this out.

That’s over-simplifying a debate that will seemingly wage on forever about gun control, background checks, the Second Amendment and much more. Republicans will tell you that people with legally owned guns aren’t the problem, but reports are that the shooter in Tuesday’s shooting legally purchased his gun and ammunition. So did the shooter in Buffalo. So did the Parkland shooter.

But as the debate wages on the pages of the internet, on 24/7 news stations and on Twitter, it appears nothing is actually getting done to prevent this from happening again. We pray for the people in Uvalde. And we pray for our leaders, hoping that at some point, they figure out a way to work together so that the violence comes to a stop. We can’t take no for an answer.