Since Parkland, students throughout the country are riled up. I get that. I think they’re riled up about the wrong things, but they’re riled up.
Where the problem lies is that they know very little about the subject. Instead, these students react out of fear, a fear instilled in them by teachers and the media. They remain convinced they’ll be gunned down any day now unless we pass gun control laws that won’t accomplish anything.
In Maryland, a group of high school students decided to construct a memorial to the kids killed by people using guns last year.
BETHESDA – Hundreds of white t-shirts lined the front of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, a stark tribute to how many students have died through gun violence in the last year. The memorial was created and organized by the club BCC For Gun Control, and put up on the anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
“We wanted to remind people why we started fighting for gun control in the first place,” said Ethan Tiao, a student leader of BCC For Gun Control. Tiao, who is a junior at B-CC, started the activist group with seniors Anna O’Keef, and Emily Schrader.
Each t-shirt, 671 in all, has the name and age of a student killed by gun violence written in black marker. Included in the exhibit is one local man Jon-Christian Kemechet-Webster, 20, who was killed in Silver Spring last year. His name is written in red and is the only adult included in the display at the request of his mother who became a local activist for gun reform after her son’s death.
The three leaders found the 671 names by tweeting at the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit organization that provides statistics about gun violence in the United States. The display at B-CC encompasses students aged 12-17 who were gunned down in a variety of ways; through massacres, suicides and even accidents.
Cool story, bro. Now do car accidents.
As reported earlier this week, 400 people were killed in automobile accidents in just one year in Oregon alone, and that state has fairly low fatality numbers.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The loss of even one child is too many, but let’s also look at this realistically for a moment. Six hundred and seventy-one sounds like a huge number until you consider that in 2017 there were 74 million children in the United States. Statistically, that means there’s only a small fraction of one percent chance of a child being killed by someone wielding a firearm.
Further, look at the age-range used. At least some of those being remembered were killed due to illegal activities they were engaged in. In fact, we know for a fact that the one adult added to the memorial was. It seems Jon-Christian Kemechet-Webster was a drug dealer killed during a supposed drug sale.
Two men from Arlington, Virginia, and a third man from Suitland, Maryland, have been charged in the July 19 killing of Jon-Christian Kemachet-Webster, Montgomery County police said Wednesday afternoon.
Oliver Waltz Farley, 19, of the 1500 block of S. Randolph Street in Arlington; Re’Quan Kasim Hopson, 21, of the 1900 block of S. Kenmore Street in Arlington and Brian Anthony Mackall, 20, of the 4100 block of Suitland Road are each charged with first-degree murder.
The three men went to Kemachet-Webster’s family’s house to buy “a large quantity of marijuana,” police said. Farley and Mackall went into the house to make the deal, and Hopson drove the getaway car, according to investigators. Kemachet-Webster was shot on the second floor of the house.
The fact that this deal was going down in his family’s home tells me that his mother’s biggest problem isn’t that her baby was killed by someone with a gun, but the fact that she reportedly raised a drug dealer and either didn’t notice it was going on in her own home or was complicit in it.
Yeah, I’m all broken up over a drug dealer’s murder.
Seeing kids killed is awful. I understand that for the parents who lost their child, it’s beyond terrible. I can’t even imagine their pain.
But let’s also remember that 2.5 million people use a firearm every year to defend themselves and others from violent attacks. When we’re talking about policy, we shouldn’t get wrapped up in the individual tragedies, much as we may sympathize. That’s not how the system works, nor should it.
Instead, we need to look at what creates the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
There will always be people who don’t experience that greatest good. It sucks, but you’re never going to change that reality. Crap happens, but that doesn’t mean you get to endanger more people’s lives because of it.
It’s only a shame that these kids won’t understand that. No one is telling them that, or if they are then the kids aren’t listening.