It’s a strange feeling that Amnesty International issued a travel advisory for the United States stating “exercise extreme caution when travelling throughout the country due to rampant gun violence.” The copious gun violence has led international groups to not see our country as something it has prided itself on for generations: a land of opportunity and freedom.

The basic civil right of safety has become commonly challenged — something disturbing and incomprehensible. A simple trip to the mall can be a life-changing experience for friends and extended family.

I certainly do not know the answer to solve this crisis, but there is no doubt that it is momentous. The people of the United States obviously must be informed, but what crosses the line between informed and obsessive?

It has been proven that most perpetrators of violent crime crave attention; therefore, the extensive mass media coverage of a shooting must be attractive to them. The constant coverage has to be contributing to the amount of tragedies.

I’ve noticed that recently news stations are switching to focusing on the victims’ lives, aspirations, etc. I think this is the best way to address these tragedies, avoiding the criminal’s name. They do not deserve to be glorified and praised within twisted circles.

My sister, Alexandra, reflected about her experience when she was in Beirut, Lebanon. “Habibti, how have you not gotten shot?” was the response she received to stating that she was from the United States. Acknowledging the opinion the United States has on Middle Eastern violence, she said, “We project our insecurities onto the unknown. Find those insecurities, address them, and you will free yourself from the fear preventing you from embracing the unknown ... even in this terrifying world.”

We cannot let this danger derail us from regular life; however, that is impossible. When basic safety is a question, society cannot thrive. Fear does not create an environment suitable for the expectations of the U.S. — innovation and leadership.

As a high school student approaching senior year, the future is constantly on my mind. The fact that my efforts of pondering my future could all be vain — that my life could end in an instant, a random moment — is terrifying. Thus, I do not understand why assault rifles are available to the public; I see these weapons as only somewhat excusable in war zones. Why would they ever be allowed for ownership within the common citizenry?

With another shooting always lurking around the corner, reality has become a sad replacement for what it used to be. I never thought that I would constantly be reading articles about casualties upon casualties.

Something must be changed. New ideas must be cultivated. As a country, we must work for a better tomorrow for ourselves and posterity.