The Official Student Media of Blue Valley North High School

THE NORTH STAR

The Official Student Media of Blue Valley North High School

THE NORTH STAR

The Official Student Media of Blue Valley North High School

THE NORTH STAR

An Unacceptable Reality

An+Unacceptable+Reality

Sports are a strong unifying factor today, but death is stronger. Over approximately three hours (from the beginning of the parade to the aftermath of the shooting), Kansas City was unified. On Wednesday, February 14th, 2024, over a million Chiefs fans swarmed Union Station and the streets of Downtown, KC to celebrate the Super Bowl LVIII Champions. With this being the Chiefs’ third Superbowl win in the past four years, the parade day seemed rather routine. Children had the day off school, family and friends woke up early to stake out spots and athletes began a day of celebration. No one would anticipate the state of utter chaos, shock and disaster this joyous day would end in. 

We know now that the shooting began as a verbal altercation between two groups of people. The argument quickly escalated to violence, as multiple people pulled out guns and began shooting at each other. As individuals from the two groups ran and chased one another, stray bullets struck nearby paradegoers, resulting in dozens of injuries and one fatality. While the extent of these injuries is unknown, the 22 injured included adults and children. The death of Lisa Lopez-Galvan, Shawnee, KS, resident and mother, shocked the Kansas City community and reignited conversations surrounding gun violence and control. 

The tragedy that took place at the parade was in Kansas City, MO, which reported 182 homicides in 2023, the majority of which were caused by firearms. While the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, is granted to citizens, the regulations in which these rights exist vary from state-to-state. Some states, such as California, have strict gun laws to protect their inhabitants from gun-related accidents. However, Missouri has consistently ranked amongst the states with the weakest gun laws ranked at 47th. Statistics from state data reflect these loose laws, with Missouri having the ninth-highest rate of gun deaths in the U.S., according to the CDC. Missouri’s lack of regulations includes the following: no obligatory background checks to purchase firearms, no ban on assault rifles, no necessary firearm registration and no required permit for firearms. One of the only regulations laid out by the state government is that no one may display a firearm in a manner that could be deemed angry, threatening and/or for any use other than self-defense. 

The violence that took place amid the joy and celebration of a Super Bowl parade has made many question the future of sports celebrations and gatherings. While this shooting was a shock for Kansas Citians, the day sounded familiar to Denver Nuggets fans. In June of 2023, Denver saw 12 gun-related injuries surrounding their NBA Finals victory. Similar to KC, the shootings were unrelated to the celebrations. While some may question event preparation and safety measures, KCPD reported that the police presence at the event amounted to over 800 officers. The police response was swift and the medical response may have saved countless lives. However, despite the number of police personnel present, violence still erupted, leading many to struggle with what it may mean for future parades.

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As a community and as a nation this is not a reality we should accept. It is integral that we work to raise awareness about gun violence and work to improve gun laws in our country. As a generation, we must keep conversations alive despite them being uncomfortable. “Well, this is America,” should not be a rhetoric that is so commonly accepted and understood by Americans. Despite the fact that the Constitution grants the right to bear arms, we shouldn’t let this archaic document outlive the innocent people affected by gun violence. Parents shouldn’t fear their children’s lives at dropoff, believers shouldn’t fear attending a regular service and sports fans shouldn’t have to end days of celebration mourning. 

So where does this leave us? Should we allow the possession of firearms and the possibility of a shooting to dictate our lives, or should we do something?

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About the Contributors
Alex Robertson, Photo Editor
Alex Robertson is a senior and photo editor of “The North Star.” This is her second year on staff. She has covered sports, student life and the royal family. Outside of the newsroom, she is involved in Sources of Strength, Swim and enjoys photography. She is excited to photograph sports and events as well as bring North stories to life.
Anna Sandage, Social Media Editor
Anna Sandage, Social Media C0-Editor Anna Sandage is a junior and social media co-editor of “The North Star.” This is her second year on staff. She has covered sporting events and student life, and is interested in sports and photography. Outside of the newsroom, she is a part of Unified Sports, French NHS and Sources of Strength. She enjoys playing softball and spending time with her family. She is excited to be on staff and hopes to grow the BVN News social media pages. (Follow BVNNews on Instagram).

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