Kansas City shooting demands legislative action

Rebecca Jozwiak | Staff Writer

On Feb. 11, the Kansas City Chiefs were on top of the world after winning their second consecutive Super Bowl. Just two days later, Kansas City was dismayed, choked by despair after the city saw 22 of its residents wounded and one killed.

What should have been a day of celebration for the city ended as a tragedy following what was Kansas City’s deadliest year. Parade attendees were bloodied from gunshot wounds and scraped from road rash. Port-a-potties turned into panic rooms.

Though gun control has been a continuous problem for millennials and Generation Z, the lack of direct action on gun control is now affecting Generation Alpha.

Born between the years of 2010 and 2024, parts of Generation Alpha are now old enough to experience mass shootings.

In their news release, the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department stated that the 22 shooting victims ranged from 8 to 47 years old; half of the victims were under the age of 16. In a statement from Kansas City Children’s Mercy Hospital, a spokesperson announced that 11 children between thae ages of 6 and 15 were treated for injuries following the shooting.

While Chiefs players expected to celebrate their Super Bowl win, they spent their victory days helping to piece the city back together after the shooting. Patrick and Brittany Mahomes visited two sisters, ages 8 and 10, at Children’s Mercy Hospital. Travis Kelce’s organization, 87 & Running, donated $100,000 to a GoFundMe that is raising funds for the sisters affected by the shooting. Kelce’s girlfriend, Taylor Swift, donated an additional $100,000 to the same fundraiser.

The chaos that ensued during and after the shooting highlights the continuing precedent set by gun laws throughout Missouri. Courtesy of Everytown Research & Policy, the national gun violence rate in the United States is 14.4 incidents per 100,000 residents. Missouri’s average is 24.4 per 100,000 residents– 69.4% higher than the national average.

Along with this, Missouri has no laws in place to require a background check before purchasing a gun. The state also does not require a permit to carry a concealed weapon – meaning anyone who owns guns can publicly carry them.

Furthermore, Everytown Research & Policy separated the 50 states into five categories regarding their gun control: national leaders, making progress, missing key laws, weak systems and national failures. Missouri falls to the 38th state out of the 50 in regard to their gun laws, putting them into the “national failure” category.

As “national failures,” the state of Missouri proves that not only does our country need to strengthen our gun laws, but that the problem of gun violence will continue to plague future generations. The events that transpired during the Chiefs parade paint a worrisome picture for what Gen Alpha might experience later on.

While no children who fall into Gen Alpha died in the shooting, the event serves as a warning for what follows if we continue to turn a blind eye to how accessible weapons are in this country. We have seen multiple mass casualty events in the millennial and Gen Z eras.

In 1999, millennials saw 12 high-schoolers murdered and an additional 21 students wounded inside Columbine High School by students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris.

On Valentine’s Day in 2018, Generation Z saw student Nikolas Cruz murder 14 of his classmates, while wounding 17 others.

We have already seen a mass shooting that primarily targeted people born into Generation Alpha.

In May 2022, 18 year old Salvador Ramos shot 19 Uvalde elementary school students, while wounding 17 others. Ramos carried an AR-15 rifle and seven 30-round magazines in his truck. 11-year-old Miah Cerrillo was able to survive the shooting after smearing herself with blood from one of her slain classmates to blend in with the dead.

With every mass shooting event comes a conversation surrounding the topic of gun violence. We share our thoughts and prayers, post on social media to advocate for better laws and then, before we know it, we start seeing fewer and fewer posts on our timelines and return to life as if nothing happened.

The clock is ticking to establish legislation for stricter background checks and gun accessibility. Young people are scared to be in large crowds now more than ever.We cannot send our children to school without worrying that they will have to smear the blood of their classmates on themselves in order to make it to the next day.

Instead of bringing our children home from celebrations with a scratch on their leg, we have brought them to hospitals with bullets lodged in their bones. Right now, every big win in the United States creates potential deadly catastrophes with the promise of big crowds. No one is safe from their life being cut short from the bang of a gun – not even those who aren’t old enough to know what a gun is.