Even ‘Great America’ Vulnerable to American Gun Violence

Gun violence: America’s Ongoing Pandemic

Even Great America Vulnerable to American Gun Violence

By Mekhaia Britt, Contributing Writer

It was a beautiful summer Sunday as we finished our last ride and headed for the funnel cake stand. 

Like so many people, my friends Nevaeh, William, Kennedy, Daisha and I spent the day at an amusement park taking in the last days of freedom before the school year started back that next day.

When we arrived at the park, we went right through security. 

They didn’t check our bags. 

The metal detectors either weren’t on, weren’t active or weren’t working. 

I didn’t think about it because we had to use the bathroom so being able to go straight in was a bit of relief to me. 

As I think about it now, I feel that there was enough staff to where they could have quickly checked bags. 

As I think about it now, it should have been foreshadowing that something was going to go terribly wrong.

But who thinks that they’re trip to ride a roller coaster would end with sheriff’s sirens, ambulances and TV news trucks. 

Attending a Fourth of July holiday parade shouldn’t put your life at risk.

Heading into class at school shouldn’t put your life at risk.

Going to Great America shouldn’t put your life at risk.

Yet, this summer in Uvalde, Texas, Highland Park and Gurnee, home to Six Flags Great America, there has been gun violence.

Gun violence is something that should easily be prevented, if the right steps are being taken.

At Six Flags, as we stood in line for the funnel cake, I suddenly saw a large group of people running. We didn’t hesitate to run too. 

Something clicked inside me – maybe a survival instinct to go – that said that people usually run from something dangerous. 

What really clicked was seeing parents pick up their children, running and screaming. 

I thought maybe something had caught on fire at the park. 

Secretly, I hoped that it wasn’t guns and another public shooting. 

We ran to the metal fencing and hopped over it. 

Once we figured we’d gone back far enough we tried to gather information from the employees who then grabbed their bags and began to exit the park. Then we were abandoned. They left us there to deal with the crisis ourselves, just like our public officials, they were of no help. 

Personally, sometimes I feel like even hunters shouldn’t even have access to guns. 

Access to guns is simply too easy to gain.

The city of Chicago has laws against the sales of guns yet, each night, there are more and more shootings. 

It makes you wonder if the government is as concerned about public safety as it is about the rights of gun owners. 

I believe that guns should only be in the hands of the mentally stable officials – police officers, law enforcement. 

But I also believe, like Covid-19, gun violence has become its own pandemic because lives are on the line. 

According to Gun Violence Archive.org, 895 teens between the ages of 12-17 were killed by guns this year. 

A total of 450 people – teens and adults- were killed as part of mass shootings, according to the same source. 

This doesn’t even take into account suicide by gun. 

According to CNN, on Aug. 14 two teenagers were taken to the hospital with “non-life-threatening injuries.”

Six Flags Great America issued a statement after the incident.

“Three people were injured this evening when shots were fired from a single vehicle in the parking lot. The vehicle immediately drove away. Park security personnel and officers from the on-site Gurnee Police Department Substation responded immediately. Emergency services responded, transporting two persons to the hospital for evaluation. A third person declined treatment. The park closed early with guests and team members departing under direction of the Gurnee Police Department.”

I’m not sure why someone wouldn’t want to go to the hospital. Isn’t a hospital a safe place?

Of course, if we continue to have gun violence at these high levels, is any place truly safe either Great America or anywhere else in America?