Editor’s Note: The Daily News publishes Letters to the Editor with minimal copy edits and provides a headline only if the author does not provide one. We reserve the right to withhold submitted letters depending on the content. Letters should be approximately 500 words and sent to editor@bsudailynews.com.

I have never been one to share my political views so blatantly on such a large forum. We have grown up in a technological age where instant coverage is streaming live at any minute of the day. We have grown up in an age where gun violence has taken away our sense of hope for the world and our ability to be at ease in class without fearing a person gunning down the door to take the lives of innocent people. I am worried for our future. My heart has been wrenched seeing so many lives being taken by these people who have access to such lethal weapons like an AR-15. I do not personally think ANY civilian needs this type of weapon for self-defense. The Second Amendment was designed for civilians to be protected from our government, not to kill many within seconds. 

For those still reading and listening to my words, thank you. From the time I was 13 years old, I knew something needed to be done. The shootings at Sandy Hook devastated me in so many different ways than one. I cried for people I had never met in my life and understood the importance of change at such a young age. I wish our lawmakers and leaders of this country could band together and stop the continuous gun violence in our schools and in other places as well. 

How can some defend the life of an unborn child so easily, but not the lives of those sitting in our schools needing protection? This is not in any form valuing the life of a child in school more than an unborn child. I'm just wondering how some can fight to defend the rights of the unborn but not those who are on this earth. I realize many will disagree with what I'm about to say, but I hope you can understand my viewpoint. I am the daughter of an educator, and I am worried for my father. I realize there are many arguments out there that push for the need for teachers and administrators to be armed with weapons. These teachers did not get their degrees to work in an unsafe environment that may require them to shoot or kill an intruder at any minute. These teachers did not get their degrees to serve in the military. They got their degrees to teach. 

When you look at other first world countries, you do not see the large numbers of mass shootings like we do here in America. Yes, mental health issues have increased over the past few decades, and no that cannot be ignored. We cannot ignore the other factors either, such as giving our civilians a military-strength rifle or weapons that have the intent to kill hundreds within minutes. I realize you can never get rid of guns, and that is not my argument here. 

My argument is the type of weapons available to society. We are wasting time and aiding the process of another mass shooting by not using our voices and demanding change. In 2018, America has seen 18 school shootings already. Feb. 14th marked the 18th school shooting just in 2018. That alone says we need change. That is a school shooting every 2.5 days. (Editor's note: These figures come from Everytown for Gun Safety and have been refuted.) Our voices are valuable and deserve to be heard. Whether you stand for more mental health access, gun reform, or both, we need to use or voices for those who no longer can. Use your voice for the betterment of society and a hope for change. Your voice is needed. We need answers. I will never be quiet or feel sorry for using my voice when it comes to innocent lives being taken in such heinous ways that can be prevented. I will not be quiet.

For those who have taken the time to read this and realize that I am human and have the right to my own opinion, thank you. Remember that whatever side you are on, mental health options, gun reform, or both, YOU are important to the change we need. If the future of America matters to you, as well as our children, please do not let this fight stop here. Stand up for those who no longer can and make your voice heard. Ball State students and students everywhere, we need you and we need your words.

Madison Looker, freshman biochemistry major