“Oh, Again?” EDITORIAL: How Apathy is Destroying Any Shot at Safer Gun Control


Santa Fe High School seniors sitting with family at a church service in Santa Fe, Tex., following the school shooting. Image courtesy of the New York Times.

Anna Kaganova, Staff Writer

I am no more scared

Of the bullet

Than I am

Of your indifference.


I read the paper: “Ten dead and ten injured in a school shooting”; I catch myself thinking, Oh, another one. And then, I am repulsed. I am repulsed by my detached thought, by my growing indifference to this horror; I am disgusted by the growing body count, by the recurrence of this tragedy, by the inability of somebody – anybody – to do something to stop this.

Since 1990, more than 150 children and adults have been killed in shootings at American elementary, middle and high schools. Since Parkland, as of May 28, 2018, there has been at least 10 other school shootings, in which a total of 18 people died, students and teachers alike. May 18, nine students and one adult were killed in Santa Fe High School, Texas; ten others were wounded. The shooter, identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, was arrested following the massacre and charged with capital murder and aggravated assault of an officer. Pagourtzis was armed with a shotgun and a .38-caliber pistol – both owned by the boy’s father.

The shooting was the worst this year since February 14, when a former student killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, inflaming a polarized debate on gun control. In Florida, parents and students put public and emotional political pressure on lawmakers, and legislators responded just three weeks after the Parkland massacre.
Santa Fe was the deadliest shooting in Texas to the date since 26 people were killed in a church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, last November – but no nationwide backlash erupted. After Parkland, everyone was rallied up and ready to walk out and make posters and protest – but much less has been done since Santa Fe.

The inaction can be attributed to the fact that Texas is a deeply Republican state with a high percentage of gun owners, so the residents of the area are less likely to vocally support gun control. But it also seemed that people just cared less, in general. My school, quick to hold a walk out and a gun safety campaign after Parkland, failed to acknowledge the Santa Fe shooting. Before you close this article, thinking that I’m a gun-opposing liberal (which, I guess, I am) – consider this.

Yes, maybe gun ownership is not to blame: the United States sees considerably less gun violence than certain nations in Latin America. Yet it is hard to argue that all these mass shootings have happened, one by one, by an unfortunate coincidence. It seems, though, that we can’t come to a consensus on our broken system, that is costing us lives. The issue has become so deeply divided, so politicized that for some, gun control or lack thereof is now a matter of personal pride. In the meantime, the somber list of names lengthens.

We need legislation that strengthens the requirements for a citizen to obtain a firearm. There should be a longer training period to ensure that gun owners can safely handle a gun and securely store it so the weapon doesn’t get in the wrong hands (as happened in the Santa Fe shooting, when 17-year-old Pagourtzis stole his father’s shotgun). We have to establish stricter background and mental health checks across the US, once again guaranteeing the candidate’s competency to own a firearm. Taking the extra steps will prove the applicant an individual who can and will use their gun carefully and responsibly, which could prevent yet another senseless tragedy.

But, for anything to happen, above all, we need to show that we care. Students need to continue speaking up, marching out, writing frustrated articles that nobody will read – or else, nothing will ever get done. If you’re reading this, it means you care enough. Thank you. So, maybe, go on and tell others (i.e. your congressman, your senator, your mom, your cat, your teacher, your principal) that this issue is not meaningless to you; that you want comprehensive gun safety legislation (or whatever it is you want); that you will not remain idle, silent, apathetic. Do it for yourself; do it for those around you; do it for those who had gone and who are yet to come. The power comes in numbers – the numbers grow with you.

Maybe, then, we won’t have to march for our lives – if anyone still cares to march, of course.