They call for change

Posted on April 16, 2018

By Talar Anoushian and Amber Arnaout

Seventeen people were taken from the Earth on February 14th—it was Valentine’s day. A day to express love became a day to express nothing but grief. That day will no longer be the same for those affected by it.

What many may not know is that the day before the Parkland shooting, there was an alleged planned mass shooting set to happen in Washington. The potential shooter was Joshua Alexander O’Connor. The Everett police have arrested the eighteen-year-old high school student on the charges of attempted murder and robbery.

His grandmother may have been wary to turn him into police, but she became a hero to many whose lives were in danger at ACES high school. The first odd sign she noticed was when she caught him walking home with a guitar case.

However, the biggest warning sign was when she discovered his journal. There he recorded, in detail, his plan to conduct a mass shooting at ACES High School where he was previously enrolled in.

Parts of his entries were released, and were absolutely chilling to read:

“I’m preparing myself for the school shooting. I can’t wait. My aim has gotten much more accurate … ” O’Connor writes. “… I need to make this shooting/bombing at Kamiak [High School] infamous. I need to get the biggest fatality number I possibly can. I need to make this count.”

He’s been focusing and reviewing prior mass shootings/bombings and learning from past shooters/bombers mistakes. By paying attention to their faults, he learns from their mistakes.

He had been deciding between two schools in which he planned to conduct this shooting. He concluded to flipping a coin in order to choose which one he would shoot up.  He treated it as though it was a game where lives were in danger at either one school or another, ACES “won” this coin toss.

Students went to school as they would any other; not knowing that O’Connor had picked ACES as the target.  Innocent teenagers at this school suddenly became a target with a toss of a coin.

At school, he had been pulled aside from class where an officer was waiting, ready to arrest him.

While in custody, O’Connor set himself loose from one handcuff and ran across a parking lot hoping to escape. There he fell and an officer caught up with him and secured him down once again.

If he had gotten away, what would have happened then? Thankfully the tragedy ended there.  His grandmother, Catherine Katsel, was a courageous hero and saved many lives, even if it meant turning her own grandson to the police.

A question we all ask is, “How can we prevent a shooting?”

First and foremost many who are attempting to plan a shooting show many signs. Such as a shooter having no remorse, an obsession with weapons, a lack of ethics, no close friends, high family dysfunction, or as simple as acting violently.

These signs are all leading causes of a person potentially committing mass murder. According to lead researcher, Dr. Clare Allely, from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow, “It is found that the combination of mental health issues from autism to head injuries with psychological trauma can lead to violent crimes.”

It seems that America has experienced an increase in mass shootings in the past two decades, which leads to detrimental effects on the emotional states of all people especially Generation Z in particular.

Generation Z was known as “The Post-Columbine Generation,” but is now dubbed as “The Mass Shooting Generation.” The latter is one that they no longer want to be known as because it means that nothing will change.

In 1999, the mass shooting at Columbine High School happened and took the lives and the futures of 13 people–12 children and one teacher.

It took place when the eldest of Generation Z were mere babies meaning they have never lived in a world without school shootings. According to CNN, the shooting at Columbine is no longer part of the ten deadliest shootings in US history.

The events that took place on April 20, 1999, were considered outrageous and stirred the emotions of America. It was not the first time that a school shooting happened, but it was considered the deadliest at the time. That should have been the last time this happened–it wasn’t.

Since then, according to latimes.com, America has bared witness to at least 180 school shootings since the Sandy Hook incident. This statistic is, to say the least, utterly disappointing. It explains why most Americans’ reactions to these shootings thus far are, “Oh, not again.” But after the Parkland incident in which the lives of 17 people were taken from them, Generation Z is crying out for change as they say, “Never again!”

America must put aside their political differences in order to come to one consensus–how they can protect the children. Generation Z will be silent no longer. They do not want to be bystanders as they watch the lives of their friends, family, and teachers are taken right before their eyes. They want change and they want it now.

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