These Students Get It: Announcing the Winners of our 2019 National High School Essay Contest
A Message from the President of Americans Against Gun Violence
Over the past 10 days, we’ve been receiving acknowledgements to the congratulatory notices that we sent to the winners of our 2019 Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest. The last acknowledgement from one of our top 12 winners came in on Thursday. I was looking forward to sending out an announcement of this year’s winners to our supporters this weekend, but then the Virginia Beach Municipal Center mass shooting occurred on Friday afternoon, and I turned my attention to sending out a press release concerning this latest tragic spike in the ongoing U.S. epidemic of gun violence.
I was wondering today if it would be appropriate to send out the announcement of our essay contest winners so soon after the Virginia Beach mass shooting, at a time when our nation was still in mourning. Then I reread some of the students’ essays and compared what the students had written with the statements that have appeared in the media from various elected officials and other purportedly authoritative sources concerning the Virginia Beach mass shooting and the innumerable other mass shootings that have preceded it. I came to the conclusion that there was no better time to publish the students’ essays.
These students get it. Most older members of our society who are quoted in the news or interviewed on TV and radio after these tragedies seem to have no clue as to why the United States is the only high income democratic country in the world in which mass shootings occur on a regular basis; or if they do have a clue, they don’t have the courage to admit that they know why the United States is such an extraordinary outlier or to acknowledge the need for the adoption of stringent gun control laws to stop the shameful epidemic of gun violence that afflicts our country.
The prompt for the 2019 Americans Against Gun Violence National High School Essay Contest was the following excerpt from the majority opinion written by the late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun in the 1980 case of Lewis v. United States: