By Genesis Rose, Senior
Dear Senator Marco Rubio,
As an African American and Transgender student who has over a decade of experience with the current public education system, I am deeply concerned for the future of education. The act of voluntarily arming educators in an attempt to appease the public by providing an inadequate solution that distracts from the only real solution: A ban on assault rifles.
A ban on assault rifles would likely require a contingency plan, that, given the United States’ handling of The War on Drugs, would result in the hyper-criminalization of men of color. However, being aware of this possibility and being able to cite prior errors in the criminalization of men of color should motivate those in power to prevent a repeat in history. I say this to say that the ban on assault rifles would not be easy or perfect or a 100% solution; however, the need to take these weapons of mass execution out of the reach of the general public is not only necessary, but also mandatory if we wish to create a safer America.
If the argument of self-defense is the scapegoat used by those who prefer power over protection, it can be effortlessly refuted. A semi-automatic weapon, or an automatic weapon, or any weapon capable of mass murder greatly exceeds the standard for self-protection. At the time of its composition, the Constitution used the Second Amendment as a way to control slaves and arm the American people against any potential foreign invasion, in a time where it took five minutes to reload a weapon. Today, it takes less that thirty seconds to reload a firearm, and the threat of institutionalized slavery and wide scale foreign invasion are no longer a threat. For a citizen to protect themselves from an intruder or attacker, they simply need a weapon with enough power to take out one person-- not massacre fifty people in a nightclub.
Arming teachers is a poor decision, especially in today’s political and racial climate. The increase of police brutality proves this. Men and women who have been trained and dedicate their entire life to their badge are committing dishonorable acts of violence and hyper-aggression. Men and women who have dedicated their life to educating others being armed with weapons open the door for fatal error. These are individuals who are often tested to their limits on a daily basis by the people they encounter; they are civilians who are impulsive, and bringing guns into a place of learning only gives opportunity to a new wave of errors: a student gaining access to the gun, a teacher going on a rampage, or a number of other equally gloomy scenarios.
I know that I would have been a clear target for the vengeance of a number of my teachers given my challenging and opinionated nature paired with my predisposition to prefer female pronouns and my deeply pigmented skin. The passing of this law would put me and students like me and student unlike me in grave danger.We will become targets. The solution is and has been clear. It deeply saddens me that despite the countless lives ended at the pull of a trigger our government acts with the swiftness of a tortoise in their enactment of meaningful and effective legislature.
By Melina Kamaritis, Senior
Dear Senator Daphne Campbell,
I want to thank you for your proposal on last Saturday's session, and it is comforting to know that we share a similar stance on this controversial topic of gun regulations. I usually have doubts about the people who have the platform to evoke change in society because many do not have perspectives on issues that are similar to the majority of citizens, but your voting/speaking record reflects that you are looking out for what is best for the community. This shows the actual meaning of a democratic republic, and I am glad to have you as the Senator for Miami Shores, Florida.
It might be discouraging that your proposal requiring people who want a concealed weapons permit to first get a mental health evaluation was declined; however, your efforts are appreciated greatly. Although many of the suggestions did not pass, the few that did will hopefully make a change in the right direction.
A suggestion: please, make an effort to block the legislature that would allow for teachers to voluntarily hold arms on school grounds. This is incredibly unsafe and should not be included in a learning environment. Additionally, I know of some teachers that may resign from teaching if they work in an environment with guns.
The fact that you are so willing to push for change and speak out about what you think is right assures me that there are officials that legitimately represent those of us who want to see stricter gun control.
Thank you again for your effort,
By Sam Isenberg, Junior
March 6, 2018
Dear Honorable Senator Oscar Braynon,
Thank you for voting in support of the assault weapons ban. While, unfortunately, the bill was unable to pass, I appreciate that you do not compromise your ideals, and you vote for what is right for the public. I am delighted that you are taking the right steps to make help make our state a place I can feel safe. In the wake of the Valentine’s Day tragic massacre that took place at Stoneman-Douglas High, I am relieved that you are taking the right steps to create a safer Florida.
When I can vote, you have my vote!
By Jada Forbes, Senior
Dear Senator Braynon,
My name is Jada Forbes, and I am a senior at iPreparatory Senior High School, in the middle of Downtown, Miami. The issue of school safety is always a part of our discussions because of how close we are to the busy metropolitan area.
Personally, the week before Valentine’s Day was very stressful because of how busy I was contributing my time to my school, extracurriculars, and home life. After a horribly long day of being on my feet, my Valentine’s Day came to an end and that is when I heard about the monstrous tragedy that happened to occur is my own backyard-- a school shooting happened a county away. In all honesty, my initial reaction was no reaction. All I thought was a numb “Wow. Another shooting.” I’ve come to realize that I am almost completely desensitized to anything surrounding the topic, and this doesn’t sit well with me, at all. The fact that I am so used to things like this happening as often as it does is a problem. People’s lives were lost at the hand of a teenager who was capable of obtaining an AR-15, and no one thought to give the idea of change a second chance. I’m sure you know this, but to emphasize the severity of the situation, this was the 18th occurence of a school shooting in the should span of 44 days. That’s ridiculous.
I didn’t show any emotion towards the heinous event until the next day, at school. A somber tone took over the entire school and most of my classmates were struck with genuine fright for their safety and that of their friends. I shouldn’t have to go to school and question whether I will be able to see my mom when I get home because my life could be threatened or taken by someone who shouldn’t have been able to obtain an assault rifle–or anyone, for the matter.
The following days were equally stressful as the day before the event, and this is because of the uprising the kids in my generation decided to produce, myself included. With that being said I am extremely proud of my counterparts and our efforts to promote change in our country. The hashtag “#ChangeIsNow” isn’t just a hashtag, but something many of Gen Z kids are living Every. Single. Day.
I decided to describe a few anecdotes to you as I write this letter, so you are able to see a very human perspective. I won’t be a student in high school for very long, as I am graduating in June, but there are thousands of students after me who will be affected if a solution is not found. I have researched your positions and appreciate that you’re actively against allowing teachers to be armed in school–as if this is a proper solution, in the first place. Banning the sales of assault rifles, period, is an extremely viable solution, and the fact that this bill failed being passed shows where our legislatures stand; whether it be with us or against us.
We need change, and we’re going to get it.
High School Senior
By Sabrina Beguiristain, Senior
Dear Florida Senator,
I’m not only addressing those who have government power but anybody who is willing to read this.
On June 26, 1934, the first policy concerning national gun control was initiated by President Franklin Roosevelt. It was part of his “New Deal for Crime” program, and it was called The National Firearms Act (NFA). This legislation was passed to tax firearms to decrease gang activity. So this was the fundamental beginning of passing gun control legislation. However, since then we view gun control as a fundamental struggle.
The lack of gun control lingers heavily in our states, which only reveals the unprogressive nature of our government when it comes down to gun control. And if U.S. history cannot convince you of the lack of policies we have enacted on serious issues such as this, then how about the losses? This year alone, there has been 18 school shootings. EIGHTEEN. Our schools shouldn’t be feared as a violent and unsafe place; our schools should be a place of limitless dreams and wellsprings of knowledge.
The wealthiest prize we gain in this world is our knowledge! So my question for you, reader, is this: How much longer? How much longer do we need to passively watch lives get lost? How much longer till every student is feared of the one place that might give them a sense of hope for the future? How much longer?
As a student, I’m standing with my peers, and we have had #Enough lives taken. Instead of reprimanding our ideas