Students Reflect on the Odessa, Texas Massacre:


Gwyneth Katker

On August 3rd, a mass shooting occured in a Walmart in El Paso Texas, leading to more controversy over gun laws.

Ritika Vonguru, Reporter

As the era of shootings persists, Odessa, Texas faces a true tragedy. August 30, 2019 was like any other day with parents running errands and kids coming home from school. However, the day took a ghastly turn of events when a shooter fatally murdered seven people and injured twenty-two others. The gunman opened fire with no known motivations or clear intentions. Armed with an AR-15, he rampaged the city just a few weeks after Odessa’s sister city was attacked. This incident allows students to reflect on the innocent lives lost and, once again, calls into question the lack of gun control in the United States.

As this marks another atrocious event, the students of Seminole High School reflect about the tragedies and innocent lives lost due to gun violence.

“I am disappointed, hurt, and saddened by the fact that people are able to commit such malicious acts,” said senior Varsha Anumala.

The gunman was arrested previously for criminal trespass and evading arrest. He also had a traffic citation and had gotten into trouble for other slight offenses. It was announced after the gunman’s death that the police were unsure of how he obtained the weapon. They also discovered that the gunman was not cleared to own a gun license since he failed previous background checks due to a mental illness. Similar instances were prevalent among many other massacres, including the one at Parkland. Unfortunately, Odessa’s massacre was simply another example of the lack of precaution the current administration has taken in having stricter gun regulations.

“This really goes to show how easy it is for any person in America, regardless of their criminal background, to get away with terrorizing people. I thought we should have learned from our mistakes,” said Anumala.

It has been over a year since the Parkland shooting and the establishment of March for our Lives, a movement that allowed for the widespread discussion on the 2nd amendment across our nation. (March for our Lives was instituted to create more regulations for states that did not have strict gun laws and have proper background checks in order for someone to purchase a firearm). Some argue that this organization allowed for serious change in our country’s administration. However, most agree that recent shootings like the one in Odessa, Texas goes to show how change has not officially been fostered by the government, but rather sparked a social movement in our nation.

“The establishment has definitely inspired this youthful generation to become more involved in the development of gun control as a social movement,” explained Junior Lia Milescu, a member of Seminole High School’s March for our Lives chapter. “It hasn’t prevented any attacks, but rather gave today’s [youth] an opportunity to speak about [this issue].”

Moreover, other students explain that the death toll of innocent civilians lost to gun violence and students demanding change through March for our Lives are reasons as to why the government should act as quickly as possible to prevent any future attacks like Odessa’s.

“The government needs to take this movement seriously and make changes now. People died in Odessa and that cannot be justified by any means,” said an anonymous student.

Odessa’s horrific incident marks the third mass shooting in August. This year alone has a total of 38 mass shootings thus far. Just two weeks earlier, 24 people were pronounced dead and 22 suffered casualties outside a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. And just a day before that, nine people were killed and 27 injured in Dayton, Ohio. 

“It feels like every month there will be a mass shooting and I hate having to turn on the television and hear about more innocent lives being lost,” expressed Junior Zahra Aldina about the prevalence of shootings in the United States.

Once again, people voice their “thoughts and prayers” on social media, mourn the loss of their loved ones, and others simply go on with their day. People have begun to feel as if mass shootings are an ongoing, vicious cycle. 

“I don’t even feel surprised because this has happened so many times. It’s sad to say, but it is like a here-we-are-again situation,” said Alidina.

Odessa, Dayton, El Paso, Virginia Beach, Aurora, Sebring, and more, showcase the epidemic of gun violence in our country. Gun control is often divided as a political issue; however, with recent devastations, it should also be considered a humanitarian one. Too many innocent lives are being lost due to failed background checks and inadequate measures. We hope Odessa, Texas and all the other locations impacted by gun violence will stay strong during these difficult times. We pray for the fallen victims and their friends and families impacted by these horrific events.