Dear next President,
My name is Jose Pagan and I live in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am a junior at Olney Charter High school and I’ve been here since my freshman year. On the news, in the media, and even in my own neighborhood i’ve noticed a very menacing issue that has been taking place all over America. The issue I am referring to is gun violence. I want to share my experience with gun violence, the statistics surrounding gun violence, the heart breaking incidents that have occured, and a scenario that you will hopefully never experience.
Let me talk about how I first handedly experienced gun violence at 5 years old. I was at my grandmother’s house, along with other family members. I was playing out front with my cousins and the children who lived next door. We were riding scooters while the rest of the family stood on the porch that was about seven stairs above from where we were playing. While playing we suddenly heard a loud pop, which I found out was a gunshot. I looked in the direction it came from, which was at the park that was at the corner, and I blankly stared that way. I watched people run but I didn’t understand what was happening. My dad jumped from about the 5th stair all the way down, picked me up from my scooter and ran up the stairs and inside.There was commotion in the house and I remember hearing the adults talk about how they’d seen the man who’d been shots brains on the sidewalk. At five years old I was 100 yards away from a bullet.
Unfortunately my experience with gun violence was not uncommon. Did you know that at the rate of more than twice a day (in the last year), someone under the age of 18 has been shot and killed ? Of those people, 75% are under the age of 12 (Mascia). 12,942 people had been killed in gun related incidents in 2015 as of December, 23rd 2015 (Mascia). In America guns now kill as many people as cars (Mascia). For every 100,000 people dead, 10.3 were gun related incidents (Mascia). This is one reason you (as the next president) need to advocate heavily to change the problem of gun violence for the sake of children in America. I easily could have been one of the 756 American children to have been shot and killed (Mascia).
These statistics surrounding gun violence represent the real people who have suffered because of guns.Take the Orlando Pulse club mass murder for example. On June 12th, 2016, 49 people were shot to death at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This was the deadliest mass shooting in US history. Every one of those people who were killed, or even in the club at the time were all important people. Maybe you did not know them, but they were important to someone. Those victims were somebody’s brother, sister, mother, father, son, and daughter. These deaths shook some families in ways that can never be repaired. Why did this need to happen to realize the problem of gun violence ? Shouldn’t we take action so that this doesn’t take place again ? How many more sons, daughters, mothers, and friends need to die at the trigger of a gun ? As President, take the job of protecting our families, our neighbors, protect America.
Although you may not have experienced gun violence the way the Orlando victims did, you may not understand it. But consider this, Imagine a loved one of yours was at school, a day as ordinary as any other. Imagine you going through your routines, as you do everyday, thinking today is just another day. Then you suddenly see your loved ones school headlined on the news because there is a someone terrorizing the school with a gun. Can you imagine the heartbreak ? Can you imagine the rush you feel to go to the school and find your loved one? Imagine seeing everyone’s children safely leaving the building, but yours. The anxiety , the heartbreak, and the fear rushing through your body all at once when you realize your child won’t be coming out.That is what the parents of the 20 children who were shot at Sandy Hook Elementary were feeling on December 14th, 2012. This is the 3rd deadliest shooting in U.S history, and for sure the hardest to hear about. In your presidency, you need to use your authority to make the change for gun violence. Not only for yourself, but for the 27 Sandy Hook victims, the 32 Virginia Tech victims, and the 49 Orlando Pulse Nightclub victims.
I have hopefully given you the proof on the problem that gun violence is in America, and how closely it affects students in America, like myself. Not only does this affects students and children, but people in the general public. There have been too many examples of public shootings to where people are now scared to leave their homes. With this evidence, you know need to use your tools as president to fix this issue. Stricter gun laws need to be placed to keep guns out of the hands of people who will do harm with them. It too easy for Americans of any age to acquire a gun. I can only hope that you read this letter and see that for the safety and well being of every American, this problem must be defused. Let’s put America on the right path to the future, the path of peace.
- With hope,