This Wednesday, those same students gave me hope. They descended on Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., to talk with their government representatives. They participated in a Town Hall meeting organized by CNN. They stood strong, they spoke articulately, they wouldn't allow politicians or NRA representatives to get away with smooth, well-practiced answers. They demanded Yes or No answers to their questions about bump stocks, semi-automatic weapons, and funding from special interests groups such as the NRA. Those students, soon to be 18 and able to vote, gave me hope. They plan, among other events, to march on Washington, D.C., on March 24.
I had several other students who fit into an even more troubling category. One girl wrote insulting things about me on her desktop, became such a discipline problem that I contacted her parents for a conference with school personnel. The girl's private psychologist agreed that the girl identified with me and was taking out her anger on me. The young girl eventually painted my name in 6-foot high letters on a school wall and then was removed from my classroom, ran away, and eventually landed in jail for other crimes.
Another boy came to my English class only 2 or 3 times in the year. The rest of the time he was truant. While in my class, he refused to do anything other than to sit sullenly in place. I also taught his sister and her best friend in my art class. A couple years later, while the three of them were at home, the boy came out of his bedroom with a shotgun and killed both his sister and her friend, and then himself.
My point in mentioning these students: these events occurred long before Columbine. Even before then, troubled students have been identified by school personnel, but solutions for troubled kids can vary from effective to inconsequential. What can make a horrible difference: access to guns. I was lucky the girl didn't have access to a gun. The boy did. The result: three young lives lost. And remember how many more since then.
You tell me: do we need to have assault weapons and bump stocks readily available? They don't belong in anyone's home. They are military weapons, not meant for hunting. If you agree with me, stand up like the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas and let your voice be heard.
Take a look at this article by German Lopez with comparisons of gun violence in various countries.