Editor’s note: This election season, Wisconsin Public Radio is going “Beyond The Ballot,” finding out what people really care about. They’re meeting them where they are — in the community. Listen to Nick Adams and Carson Tomony’s story produced by WPR’s Bridgit Bowden with text by Andrea Anderson. Click on the player below or reading the text. Then answer the discussion questions.
Carson Tomony won’t be turning 18 until December, that means he can’t vote in the November elections.
But if he could, he says he would “definitely exercise my privilege to vote.”
Carson, 17, is a junior at Madison East High School, and as a student in Nick Adam’s United States government class, he’s learned about candidates and where they stand on the issues.
Carson and his classmates have also noticed something through the class’ weekly requirement to keep tabs on current events: school shootings appear to be commonplace.
“Every week it’s an option to say, ‘Hey, there is another school shooting.’ So for me that’s week after week, where I’m like, ‘OK, we got to do something about this.'”
The number of school shootings really bothers Carson, who said the most important issue to him this election cycle is gun control.
“To me it comes down to, is it more important to keep the people safe or to allow people to continue to have guns?” Carson said. “… At this point to me it’s not about politicians sending thoughts and prayers to families, but rather making actual changes to stricten up gun control laws and take action before more people die.”
Columbine happened before Carson was born. On April 20, 1999, two Columbine High School students in Littleton, Colorado, opened fire at the school and killed 13 people.
That’s a shooting Adams remembers. He and his high school classmates talked about it in their final two months of senior year, but it “went out of my memory for a while,” Adams said.
Then Sandy Hook happened. On Dec. 14, 2012, a 20-year-old man in Newtown, Connecticut, killed 20 first-graders and six school employees at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“At this point to me it’s not about politicians sending thoughts and prayers to families, but rather making actual changes to stricten up gun control laws and take action before more people die,” Carson Tomony said.
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