It is time that we start listening to children and teenagers. They live with the fear everyday of not knowing will they be shot at school today. Many people may feel I am exaggerating, but I am not. As a psychotherapist who specializes in treating children and teenagers, I hear on a regular basis how students worry about a shooting occurring at their school. Some students anxiety is so severe that they are having panic attacks and cannot attend school on a regular basis.

The recent shooting at Parkside High School in Florida provides evidence for their fear. The news show 20/20 on ABC did a story on school shootings. They found that in the year 2017 more students had been killed in that single year than all the school shooting which have occurred from 2000 to 2016. Furthermore CNN found that for the first 23 days of 2018, there had been at least one school shooting a day on some days there were more than one school shooting. Therefore, our students fears are justified. Also the number of students killed in a school shooting continues to increase every year not decrease. So it appears we are doing nothing to address this issue. If we are, our attempts to resolve the problem are not working. Also the United States is the only nation in the world to have school shootings.

The President only offers prayers while he continues to focus on obtaining his funding for a wall. We need to protect our children more than we need a wall. He also wants to discuss mental health issues. However, the Executive Orders he has signed and his attacks on the Affordable Care Act have only served at decreasing the amount of mental health care available to people and have made it easier for people with mental health issues to purchase guns.

The United States Congress has not helped either. Senator Diane Feinstein introduced a bill making it impossible for someone on the no fly list which identifies people who may be terrorists was not passed by the United States Senate. Therefore, we may identify someone as a potential terrorist and not allow them to fly on a plane, but they can legally buy a gun. This makes no sense at all. Some people say we need to protect a person’s right to own a gun. No one has ever said that someone who hunts or wants a gun to protect their family does not have this right. However, they do not need automatic high power riffles that the military uses in war zones. I highly doubt a deer is going to shoot back.

Given the number of school shootings, the number of students and teachers who have been killed, the number of families that have been destroyed and the number of students and teachers who have survived these shooting and have to live with the tragedy for the rest of their lives, we need to start to listen to these victims. A mother whose 14 year old daughter was killed in the recent Florida shooting has told President Trump twice that he needs to impose laws that will limit access to automatic assault weapons. Many of the students from Parkside High School are calling for gun control laws. One person made the point saying, “you do not say I hear mental illness, I think I am going to die. But you do say, I hear gun shots, I think I am going to die.”

I have included a link to a rally that the Parkside High School students held. If they can hold a rally so soon after experiencing such a terrifying, traumatic event, we owe it to them to watch it. These high school students are calling on the President and United States Congress to do the right thing and finally impose sane gun laws that will protect our children. If the United States wants to be a world leader and we say we do what is in the best interest of our children, then the President and Congress must ignore the NRA and finally impose gun laws so people on the no fly list and automatic, assault weapons can no longer be purchased at a gun store, gun show or online. I have included a link to the rally these amazing teenagers in Florida held, please be respectful to these students and watch it, https://youtu.be/ZxD3o-9H1lY.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist who specializes in treating children, teenagers and trauma victims. He has over 20 years experience as a psychotherapist. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work or private practice visit his website www.RubinoCounseling.com or follow him on Twitter @RubinoTherapy.

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