How many people need to be killed before there is a change?

Travis Alajoki, contributor 

I was planning on writing this article a few weeks ago but couldn’t due to scheduling and spring break. I sadly knew that I could write this article in the future because there would most likely be more shootings. Unfortunately, I was correct. Since the time I was planning on writing the article, there have been over 30 cases of recorded gun violence. Most of these cases had an average of one victim being killed. In the grand scheme, things add up quickly, making gun-related deaths one of the leading causes of death in America right now, especially for children. 

Since the COVID pandemic, there has been a rise in cases of gun violence in schools. According to the New York Times, gun violence surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death for children in 2022. This raises many questions, such as how many people are going to be killed before there is a change. Why do we have to just stay by and watch as people are repeatedly gunned down to the point where you don’t even hear about every shooting because there are so many?

There are many reasons why gun violence happens. Some examples are racism, substance use, economic class struggle, police brutality, and most importantly, how easy it is to have access to guns — especially in the Midwest. Walk into any house in a rural area and there are probably more guns than people. Leaving access to guns super easy is one of the main problems right now, because any member of the home can just have easy access to the guns and cause chaos. 

Another main cause of gun violence is mental health. Cases of mental illness have been increasing since the pandemic. Depression and anxiety have skyrocketed not only for minors but for adults too. But there should be a big distinction between people who suffer from depression or anxiety and people who want to commit these terrible acts. If you have mental health problems, it doesn’t mean you are going to pick up a gun and shoot someone. It’s just what officials say is one of the main causes of gun violence.

The scariest part of all of this is the lack of change from public officials. Because why would people do their jobs when they can profit off the deaths of people? It’s absolutely disgusting how people will change things only for money and if it affects them personally. But it is difficult to do much since we live in America, where everyone has the right to bear arms. So it can explain a little bit of how things haven’t changed, but it still doesn’t excuse the lack of effort to do anything about it. All of this circles back to the main question I asked at the beginning of this article. How many people are going to be killed before there are changes? Unfortunately at the rate we are going now, I don’t think there are going to be changes unless we all come together to make a change ourselves.