Not all school shooting survivors turn anti-gun

Not all school shooting survivors turn anti-gun
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

As the nation reels from two mass shootings in a matter of days, we will inevitably get to talk about mass shootings as a whole, even school shootings. That’s going to include a lot of rhetoric from people like David Hogg, who the media holds up as someone we should take seriously on the matter of guns.

You see, they like to talk about how these people who attended schools where mass shootings took place are now crusading for gun control.

But that’s not nearly as universal as some would have you believe.

Take this op-ed from Newsweek, for example.

I moved to Santa Clarita, California from Phoenix, Arizona, when I was 12 years old. Instantly, I loved it. In my opinion, the suburbs of Los Angeles County are much nicer than the city itself—it felt like the type of safe community you would see on a television show. At such a young age I didn’t really have any political views. I knew my dad owned guns, but I never thought much of it.

When I was 16, everything changed. On the morning of November 14, 2019, I arrived for my first period at Saugus High School. I ran track and spent a large portion of my time training, so I was one of the few students who had an additional class early in the day.

At one point during the lesson, I left the room and went to speak to a friend in the hallway. Around three minutes into our conversation, I heard the first gunshot go off.

Now, this is normally where things go off the rails. The writer then recounts the horrors they saw or experienced and begins to repeat talking points calling for gun control.

Only, that’s not what happened.

I waited a few days before I posted anything about the shooting. For the most part, everything my peers were saying I agreed with. They were sharing posts saying children should be able to go to school without the risk of death, which of course I agree with, so I posted similar things.

But quickly things became really political. I’m not sure how long it was exactly, but I took a while to gather my thoughts before I told my peers my thoughts on gun control—that I was not in favor of making firearms illegal in the United States. The reaction was not good.

Naturally, from those who were pro-gun, I received a lot of love and support, but I also got a barrage of hate from those who were not. I lost contact with a lot of people from my school after airing my views, which I think deep down stung a little.

But I can’t be angry, because I believe I am standing up for the right thing. I understand where their opinions come from and how extremely emotional this issue is, so I cannot blame anyone for reacting viscerally to my views.

Maybe she can’t, but I sure as hell can.

See, the author, Kaylee Stockton, has a right to her own views and a right to express them as she sees fit. We know that the shooter used a firearm that was illegal in the state of California. We know that this is a state with more gun control laws on the books than anywhere else in the nation.

None of those did a damn big of good to prevent this shooting.

Stockton is absolutely correct to voice her opinion, even if many of her peers refused to share it.

Yet her experience is interesting because it mirrors Kyle Kashuv’s post-Parkland. Both faced some degree of ostracization from their peers because they wouldn’t toe the gun control line. Those who did were more than ready to cut everyone who disagreed out of their lives.

It sounds downright cultish to me.

Stockton, however, isn’t a big name in the media. The news networks don’t try to bring her on to voice her feelings after a mass shooting like they do with David Hogg. Granted, I don’t know that she’d do any of them if they asked, but the fact that we’re unlikely to see her on CNN or NBC News is a bit of a problem.

See, many want us to believe that they’re honoring school shooting survivors by pushing for gun control. The problem is, a surprising number of school shooting survivors oppose such laws.

Based on what Stockton has said, though, I have to wonder just how many never voice those opinions. How many just keep their mouths shut out of fear of losing status at school?

Sure, the anti-gun students are free to say what they want and you’re an ass if you disassociate yourself from them, but they can do the same to others whose opinions differ.

But not all students who survive a shooting go anti-gun. That’s important to remember.