STAFF EDITORIAL: Enough is enough. We deserve action.


The steps outside of Old National Bank have been turned into a memorial to honor those who died in last Monday’s shooting. Photo courtesy of the Courier Journal

RedEye Staff

The seemingly normal, busy sidewalk in front of Old National Bank on Main Street was transformed into a horrific crime scene in just a matter of minutes on Monday, April 10. Tragedy gripped Louisville when five people were killed and nine were injured in a shooting at the bank, which is located just ten minutes from Manual. Around 8:30 a.m, the gunman opened fire with an AR-15 rifle he legally purchased. A second, unrelated shooting took place in Louisville only hours after the first, killing one person and injuring another at Jefferson Community and Technical College. On the night of Saturday, April 15, our city was shaken by yet another mass shooting, this time at Chickasaw Park. Two people died and four were injured in the third major shooting Louisville has faced in just a single week. The loss to our city is immeasurable.

This is neither the first nor the last time a mass shooting has happened in the United States. There have been 146 mass shootings already this year; America has a gun obsession that has become a growing problem in the last several decades. Its consequences have permeated our education since the first day of elementary school. From Sandy Hook to Parkland to Uvalde, we have wondered “What if? What if our school is next?” Every student has gone through a lockdown or ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) drill and planned an escape route in their head, in case of the worst.

Just two weeks before the Louisville shooting on Monday, a gunman killed three children and three adults at a Christian school in Nashville. When two of the state’s legislators joined a protest for increased gun control along with students, they were expelled from the Tennessee House of Representatives. Both have since been reinstated, yet  the incident serves as a prime example of how many lawmakers across the country seem to value the Second Amendment right to bear arms over the safety of their constituents, as well as the entire American public. 

As the level of mass shootings in the United States continues to rise, we ask: when is it enough to generate more than “thoughts and prayers” from lawmakers? The response from politicians has included phrases like, “Praying for all involved in this senseless tragedy,” “Our hearts break,” and “Devastated by the horrendous news.” These statements are intended to portray sympathy and compassion, but such sentiments are not enough. When will politicians back up their words with action? 

There are numerous measures Kentucky lawmakers could have taken in order to prevent the tragedies our community faces. One strategy for preventing mass shootings is passing Red Flag Laws. These laws would help keep weapons out of the hands of those who have shown signs of wanting to harm themselves or others, as well as people with extreme mental health risks. Although 19 states have Red Flag Laws, Kentucky is not one of them. 

Another measure the legislature can take to prevent future tragedies is banning assault weapons, the guns most commonly used in mass shootings. Nine states and the District of Columbia have bans on assault weapons, Kentucky not among them.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a bill into law entitled the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, which banned the production of certain guns. However, this bill expired in 2004 and was not renewed. The Washington Post reported that the Federal Assault Weapons Ban led to a drastic decrease in the fatality of mass shootings during its enactment, however fatality levels have increased since its 2004 expiration.

Additionally, countries with stricter gun control laws have had little or no mass shootings since these laws have been implemented. A mass shooting occurred in Australia in 1996, and the government took immediate action to change the assault weapons laws, prohibiting the import and use of certain guns. After a mass shooting in Nova Scotia in 2020, Canadian president Justin Trudeau banned assault weapons. There have been four mass shootings in Canada and three in Australia since. For comparison, as of April 16, the US has had 163 mass shootings, as reported by the Gun Violence Archive

However, our state seems to be moving in the wrong direction. Just this session, lawmakers in Frankfort voted to make Kentucky a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” to prohibit local, state, and campus authorities from enforcing federal regulations or bans related to firearms.

As student journalists, we are heartbroken to have to continue covering tragic events like the ones that have occurred in our city and in Nashville. In the past, the RedEye staff has covered the March for Our Lives protest in Washington D.C., and the organization of a similar march in Louisville by a group of students. March for Our Lives is a student led group formed by survivors of the 2018 Parkland Fl. shooting. They advocate for more gun control laws and an end to school shootings.

In 2018, Manual RedEye covered a walkout to honor the victims of the Parkland Fl. school shooting. Now, five years later we are still dealing with gun violence, still in shock from mass shootings, still grieving lost members of our communities, still scared for our lives and the lives of our loved ones, and still tired that seemingly nothing has been done to stop tragedy from striking again and again. How many more times will we have to write these articles? When will something change?

As teenagers, we are tired of fearing for our lives when we enter our school building; students, teachers, and parents across the country have similar concerns. It becomes clearer day by day that the time for complacency on the part of our elected officials is over. Now is the time for change. 

If you want to contact your elected official, visit this link and fill out the information to find your local representative.