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What can I do?

I’ve been asking myself this question. When will the violence end? The July 4 Highland Park shooting marked yet another blow in America’s bloated killing spree. The following day, Brookfield Zoo went on lockdown because the zoo’s crisis line got a call threatening violence. What is wrong with us? Why are we so broken? How did this happen? And...what can I do?

Since the Columbine Massacre on April 20, 1999, there have been 304 fatal school shootings (Vigderman and Turner 1). For those not very good with mental math, the Columbine shooting occurred 23 years ago. Politicians have had 23 years to figure this out. Twenty-three. If you’re counting killed or injured and considering all mass shootings, that number has increased to at least 2,000 people killed or injured since 1999. The FBI’s definition of a mass shooting is when an act of gun violence results in three or more deaths (Jackson 1).

To put this in perspective, 2,352 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014, and 2,750 people perished during the Sept. 11 attacks (Girardin 1) and (Bergen 1). It is downright disgusting to know that we are on pace to pass these numbers in the coming years.

My purpose here is not to further separate American views. However, we all can acknowledge we have a problem. We need a solution. We can’t keep hurting each other. One of the problems is that we are all so stuck in our ways. This report shows that a majority of those committing mass shootings are those who can buy a gun legally despite their mentally ill red flag.

I believe technology through the Internet, social media, Smartphones, etc., has dramatically increased anxiety, depression, and mental illness. My high school students have said they average over ten hours daily on their phones. Highland Park shooter Robert Crimo posted graphic videos on YouTube before the shooting. While YouTube did remove the videos afterward, why were they allowed to be published in the first place?

More than ever, we need to take mental illness seriously in this country. We have to prevent things before they escalate. Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland High School