Mass Shootings, Gun Control, Pop Culture, and Student Lives Are More Closely Related Than You May Think
Three-hundred seven. That’s the number of mass shootings that have occurred throughout 2018 in the United States. At press time, 1,579 people were directly affected by these shootings and thousands indirectly; 328 people died.
As mass shootings continue to occur, the nationwide issue of gun control continues to be discussed. Protests constantly happen, in the streets and online. Americans are fighting for their safety, although everyone has different views on how to do so. Some believe there should be gun control so that guns are not as easily accessible to all. Others believe that guns should be accessible in the case they are needed for personal protection. The debate on guns in the United States is such a hot topic that students and young adults, some who can’t even vote yet, are getting involved. They want their voices to be heard.
Currently, athletes, politicians and celebrities, have tremendous influence on what young people think about many controversial topics. Social media has given everyone a voice who wants one. Celebrities can use social media not only to promote upcoming projects, but also to share their opinions and political views.
Model Cara Delevingne and Comedian Amy Schumer are celebrities who have both tweeted their view for stricter gun control laws. Delevingne has 41.3 million followers on Twitter. Schumer has 7.5 million and has been outspoken about gun control and reform since a shooting occurred at a Louisiana theater in 2015 during a showing of her movie, Trainwreck. Celebrities' statements are often retweeted and shared on other social media platforms.
Brad Pitt and Howard Stern both believe that stricter gun laws might not be solve the problem of mass shootings. The two men have both publicly voiced their opinions. According to Forbes, Pitt stated, “America is a country founded on guns. It’s in our DNA. It’s very strange, but I feel better having a gun,” he explained. “I don’t feel the house is completely safe if I don’t have one hidden somewhere. That’s my thinking, right or wrong.”
Stern told Billboard magazine his thoughts on gun control as it related to the Orlando, Florida night club shoot. “I can’t believe these people who come out afterward and their answer to Orlando is to take away guns from the public,” said Stern.
Comments by celebrities and political figures can generate agreement and also hatred. Once public comments become viral, there is no way to predict who it will impact the conversation and individual opinions.
Pop culture may affect the opinions of some of the younger generation, but students can also form their own. A freshman, Maddison Craig, from a school in Florida (she preferred the name is not said) has formed her own, very strong opinions on the enforcement of stricter gun laws. “Honestly, around the area I live, there has been a lot of violence and shootings. For example, what happened at Parkland High. Not to mention these other things have made me almost against guns completely,” said Craig.
Students are taking measures into their own hands. The March for Our Lives Campaign is just one example of young people wanting their voices heard. It doesn’t matter what side the students are on, their focus is on their future and the future of the country they will grow up in.