By Olivia Corn - President of Cornell Republicans
Allie Runas - President of UT Austin Democrats)
Lauren Schandevel - Head of Communications University of Michigan College Democrats)
Allie Runas – President of University of Texas Austin College Democrats:
On the 50th Anniversary of the mass shooting from the tower at the University of Texas at Austin, the University installed a giant rock, and the Texas Legislature enacted campus carry.
The names of all of those who lost their lives in the shooting sink into the cold granite, and I walk by it every day, reminded of the horror, uncertainty, and sheer panic that those who had attended the University before me must have felt. A thought will pass through my head when I see the memorial: what if I got shot right now, on my way to class? It’s not a fear I should have when I am trying to focus on my education; but I do.
You may wonder what marks a 50-year-old mass shooting may leave on a campus. Painfully recognizable marks, where the bullets rained all those years ago, stain our buildings. Alumni come to stand, silent, in the shadow of the granite memorial. They are a haunting reminder that my peers before me had the same worries in the wake of the shooting as I do now.
The fear of dying on the way to class is not a partisan issue. Saving the lives of our family and friends should not be a partisan issue. The only real way to solve this is to ban the assault weapons that power these mass shootings and implement better background checks. A compromise is the least our lawmakers can do to protect us.
Olivia Corn – President of Cornell University College Republicans
What happened in Florida last week was a devastating tragedy. What happened in Columbine in 1999 was a devastating tragedy. What happened in Sandy Hook in 2012 was a devastating tragedy. How many more times am I going to have to say that a school shooting was a devastating tragedy when they are preventable conclusions?
The safety of students should be the utmost priority to the American public, and there are a number of ways that we can prevent more events like the ones aforementioned. It is time for increased security at schools, in the form of an increased number of security guards and metal detectors present. It is time for assault-style weapons to be kept out of the hands of individuals not fit to possess them. But, most importantly, it is time for stricter background checks when it comes to purchasing firearms. One look at Cruz’s life history and it is seemingly obvious that he should never have been considered fit to buy and own a firearm. Not only had he been receiving treatment for mental health issues, but he had apparently had a history of troubling behavior, including selling knives and threatening various individuals.
I do not want to have to read about another devastating tragedy in four months because the media attention from the Parkland shooting subsided; prompting the fatal cycle of complacency-until-tragedy that plagues the American attention span.
No parent should ever have to send their child to school and receive text messages about a school shooting or receive the worst phone call imaginable, starting with “we are so sorry for your loss.”
Call your legislators. Tell them you support stricter background checks. Explain to them how they can help fix this problem through key legislation. Apply pressure on them and force them to act. This is a moral issue.
Lauren Schandevel - Head of Communications University of Michigan College Democrats
Parkland has been different, not because it's a particularly new phenomenon for a "mentally ill, lone wolf" to carry out these acts of extreme violence, but because students have disrupted the infuriating cycle of call and no-response.
Before, we would be interested (not even shocked, because these events are no longer shocking), debate the cause for a few days, lawmakers would do nothing, and everyone would move on. Now, people — particularly the survivors and families of victims — are speaking out.
Through CNN town halls, marches to the White House and state legislatures and a presidential “listening session,” people are still talking about it and they're angry — rightfully so. They're angry not only because their government has failed them, but because it refuses to change. Republicans want to help solve this problem? Stop offering "thoughts and prayers." Stop taking money from the NRA. Stop avoiding these issues. People are dying, and you're complicit in it. Own up to your mistakes, carry out the will of the people, and get out of office if you're not committed to protecting us.