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Another avoidable tragedy

Washington cannot allow going to school to become a game of Russian roulette

Students from Parkland hug one another after the school shooting.
Students from Parkland hug one another after the school shooting.Joel Auerbach (AP)

The shooting that took place on Wednesday at a school in the state of Florida has put the issue of gun control back on the table. It is a problem US authorities must urgently resolve. The free access to arms – in many cases war weapons – together with the systematic lack of controls and monitoring of behaviors liable to lead to violent actions is a lethal combination that is taking more and more lives.

The right to bear arms cannot be greater than the right to life

The death of at least 17 people should not just turn into another statistic that is added to the list of indiscriminate and lethal shootings that happen – increasingly more often – in the country. It is revealing that the tragedy in the Parkland High School is the 18th school shooting that has happened in the United States this year alone.

The gunman, a young man named Nikolas Cruz, has been described by his classmates as solitary character, obsessed with firearms and knives. A year ago, he was expelled from the school after being disciplined various times for his problematic behavior. He caused so much fear that they had banned him from coming to class with a backpack.

Semi-automatic AR-15.
Semi-automatic AR-15.GEORGE FREY (AFP)

And the FBI was warned about him in September. But despite this, he had been allowed to take part in a military training program for young people which used semi-utomatic AR-15 rifles – the same weapon used in other shootings, and that can be bought off the internet – large amounts of ammunition and smoke grenades. After the deaths and the injuries, what’s most tragic is what many of the students said yesterday: “Everyone saw it coming.”

Washington must not allow going to school to become a game of Russian roulette. The right to bear arms cannot be greater than the right to life. The country must take a historic step and assume control of its weapons.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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