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The Coyote Caller

The Coyote Caller

The Coyote Caller

Photo Gallery: Soccer vs. Northwest, May 9, 2024
Photo Gallery: Soccer vs. Northwest, May 9, 2024
Scott Hoskins, Journalism Adviser/Photographer • Published May 13, 2024
Photo Gallery: Soccer vs. Northwest, May 9, 2024
Photo Gallery: Soccer vs. Northwest, May 9, 2024
Scott Hoskins, Journalism Adviser/Photographer • Published May 13, 2024
Photo Gallery: JROTC @Daytona Beach Drill World Championships
Photo Gallery: JROTC @Daytona Beach Drill World Championships
Gisely Argueta, Phototgrapher • Published May 8, 2024
Exam schedule posted
Exam schedule posted
Staff ReportPublished May 8, 2024
Laptop collection day set for Thursday, May 16
Laptop collection day set for Thursday, May 16
Staff ReportPublished May 6, 2024

Why?

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This editorial does not reflect the official opinion of West Creek High School’s administration or staff or the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System.

Are we tired of asking why yet?

Why do school shootings keep happening?
Why do these school shooters use an AR-15 as their weapon of choice?
Why do our legislators prefer to protect weapons over our children?
Why do we just say, “I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers,” as if thoughts and prayers are going to shield us from bullets tearing through the innocent bodies of our children?
Why is it that the United States is the only industrialized nation on the Earth that has an epidemic of school shootings?

Why? Why? Why?

It’s time to turn why into how.

How are we going to protect our children in the place where they should feel safest?
How can we stop this never-ending cycle of violence?
How can we make it to where the preferred weapon, the AR-15, is banned?
How can we make our legislators understand that guns should not be prioritized over children’s lives?

It’s time to debunk some of the arguments pro-“hey, we have the 2nd Amendment, so we should have to right to arm ourselves to the teeth” people. And, “hey, it’s mental illness, not guns.” Don’t forget, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

The 2nd Amendment does guarantee the right to bear arms. It’s written right there in quill and ink. Ah, but there’s the rub. It was written in quill and ink. Our forefathers’ arms were smoothbore single-shot muskets that fired at a maximum of three to four shots per minute, and that’s if the user was great and loading that ball and powder.

Compare that to the AR-15, which can fire around 45 bullets per minute. I don’t think the writers of the Constitution could even envision that type of weapon. The bullet, typically a .223 caliber, emerges from the barrel at more than 3,200 feet per second and even after 500 yards, retains half its exit speed.

Granted, any gun can kill a person, but the AR-15 (by the way, the AR does not stand for “assault rifle” but for Armalite, the company that first created it) is specially designed to tear through flesh. Upon impact, the bullet tumbles through the victim’s body, creating a huge cavity and exit wound. Doctors who have seen the damage this weapon can do describe the person as unrecognizable.

Handguns fire rounds at lower velocities, and while the bullet can kill someone, the chances of saving the victim’s life are much higher than one shot with an AR-15. So even though AR does not stand for “assault rifle” (because the AR-15 is a semi-auto weapon and not full-auto), it definitely does the same damage as an assault rifle.

Well, “guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Actually, people with guns kill people. And while any gun can kill a person, the AR-15 is the favored weapon for mass shooters. In 1994 Congress passed and President Bill Clinton signed the Assault Weapons Ban. This banned the sale of the AR-15 and other types of weapons for civilian use. Did the ban work? Evidence points to yes, but it was only in effect until 2004, when the Republican-led Congress allowed it to expire.

Opponents will argue that knives kill people also. Well, so can rocks, cars, falling limbs, tornadoes, and hurricanes. However, guns and especially weapons like the AR-15 are made specifically to kill.

Finally, mental illness is a real issue. The National Institute of Mental Health claims that more than 1 in 5 Americans live with mental health. This means that someone knows someone with mental health issues. However, the United States has a lower rate of treatment than other nations. We need to begin addressing the root causes of mental illness rather than its effects.

Red flag laws, while not solely intended for people suffering from mental issues, can help keep weapons out of the hands of those who may be considered dangerous. Unfortunately, some states are opposed to red flag laws. The argument is that it takes away someone’s right to bear arms when that person has done nothing. Done, nothing, yet. If the person has demonstrated that he/she might be dangerous, isn’t it better to not allow that person weapons that can mass kill?

Turning to the how questions, just how can we keep this nightmare from happening over and over again? To be honest, there’s really nothing we can do as long as our politicians do nothing but offer thoughts and prayers. How can we get it through their minds that we care more about our children than about our guns?

It’s time to take a stand. We have to elect representatives that will take action not only in Washington but also in Tennessee. We need to ban the AR-15 and any other weapon like it. We need to pass common-sense gun laws. We need to pay more attention to the causes of mental health and not the consequences of it.

We know how, let’s do it.

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