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Mass Shootings: when will enough be enough?

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Our sick country is in a disgusting, egregious cycle regarding gun control. Innocent men, women, and children are slaughtered at the hand of a sick brain and a high-powered weapon. Hollow, unsympathetic prayers are given from every edge of the nation. Volatile debates on the 2nd amendment fill the media. Ignorant and dense politicians “take action” but are too deadheaded and self-absorbed to protect the people that put food on their table and a roof over their heads. Time passes and those who have been executed die in vain as their lives fade from the minds of millions. The next day the headlines fill with “Dozens Dead in Mass Shooting.”

Guess what? The cycle continues.

Virginia Tech (2007): 32 dead

Sandy Hook (2012): 26 dead

Orlando Gay Nightclub (2016): 49 dead

Las Vegas (2017): 58 dead

Sutherland Springs, Texas Church (2017): 26 dead

Stoneman Douglas High School shooting (2018): 17 dead

These are just a few of the deadliest mass shootings in the past decade. Oh, and did I mention 1,874 people have been shot and killed, 220 of which minors, since… 2018. Yes, that’s right, 1,874 men, women, children, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, grandchildren, friends have had their time cut short. For what? The right to own a gun? Own a gun for what? The sport of hunting? The defense of your family and land? The thrill of unleashing a high-powered weapon? The right to bear arms to fulfill our egotistical, narcissistic American values in order to sustain a false sense of power? Not one of those things is comparable to the worth of a child’s life, the worth of YOUR child’s life.

Now, I am not ignorant. This country will never ban guns. I support the right to bear arms to a certain extent. In fact, my family owns hunting rifles and shotguns and enjoys the luxuries of hunting, but I do not think anyone should or need to own a sub-automatic machine gun (which can be easily modified for more power and a higher fire rate). There are absolutely no practical purposes of owning a high-powered gun. Hunting and self-defense do not require this kind of weapon. My dad put his two cents in on the military grade weapon controversy and what he said, although funny, is ironically accurate. “If you can’t kill a deer or fend off an attacker with 12 bullets you probably shouldn’t even own a gun.”

The events on October 1st, 2017 is the most prominent example of why military grade weapons don’t belong on the streets of America. Las Vegas Police Department reported, from 10:15-10:25 P.M. a man opened fire from a hotel window down onto the crowd of the 2017 Harvest Musical Festival.

10 minutes of horrific events that no combination of words in an article can portray. In 10 minutes, 1,100 rounds rained down onto an unsuspecting crowd like confetti from a cannon.

In 10 minutes, 57 lives were taken at the hand of a military grade weapon.

In 10 minutes, 422 people left with scars reminding them of this horrific day.

In 10 minutes, a permanent reminder of what could have been their last day imprinted into the minds of 22,000 people.

10 minutes to leave a permanent mark on every man, woman, and child in America because of a man behind an AR-15.

Actually, fourteen AR-15’s to be exact, and ten other various high powered weapons just like this one. This man only brought twenty-three guns to the scene but he owned a total forty-seven guns. Why a man is allowed to purchase and own forty-seven guns leaves me baffled and disgusted. You know what happened after the events of one of the worst mass shootings in American history? Nothing.

Does that bother you even a little? Does it bother you that 57 people died in vain? It bothers me, so yes, I do believe military-grade weapons don’t belong in the streets because it doesn’t take an incompetent person to know he couldn’t have done that much damage without these types of weapons.

I also know that banning some guns isn’t going to stop mass shootings. Some say it takes a mentally ill person to commit a heinous crime like this, and they see it through regardless of what they are using as a weapon. Although very true, it’s a matter of perspective. The dark truth behind it is, a killer with a knife or a pistol isn’t going to be able to do as much damage as someone with a sub-machine gun. Many statistics show there is a strong correlation between stringent gun laws and a low number of gun-related deaths. The diagram below from safehome.org displays two maps (and a graph comparing the data). One map displaying the intensity of gun laws per state. The other map displaying the number of gun-related deaths in each state.

 

Many opposers of gun control laws like to rebuttal by claiming gun control laws are ineffective at preventing homicide and mention cities such as Chicago and Detroit, which have the some of the strictest gun laws but the highest homicide and crime rates in America. Yes, there are going to be outliers in any statistical instance, but the opposers neglect to highlight the findings of CBS News stating dozens of metropolitan cities in America such as New York and Boston with strict gun laws and happen to have some of the lowest homicide rates in the country. Opposers to gun control also claim that the guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Yes, people kill people, but people kill people with guns. I agree with some ideas gun control oppositionists suggest such as spending money on mental health programs and changing the culture behind mental health to prevent ill people from snapping. But the idea of arming more good people than bad people is like fighting fire with fire. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer living in a country where no one has machine guns over a country where a firefight will break out every time a “bad person” shows up.

Though not the sole contributor to the stalemate on gun control talks, Congress certainly hasn’t helped. Lawmakers have failed to pass laws to help manage mass shootings such as more thorough background checks and the banning of some high powered military grade weapons. In fact, they have done quite the opposite. According to CBS News, some legislators are attempting to pass a law that will allow a person with a conceal and carry permit to legally travel with a gun to states that do not allow conceal and carry’s. Metropolitan cities such as New York that have the lowest homicide rates with the strictest gun laws fear there will be a dramatic increase of gun trafficking into the city and gun-related crimes if the law passes. Despite Congress moving backward (in my opinion), it is up to us; go out and use your vote, voice your opinion, and stand up for what’s right. Celebrities and public figures across the nation have been speaking out in support of gun control and calling for change after past mass shootings and most recently, the events in Parkland, Florida.

 

I think we all need to get our heads out of our narcissistic rear ends and look at the bigger picture! We all have different opinions and we all come from different backgrounds, but in order to protect each other, we have to meet in the middle. That might mean banning a gun. That might mean giving up on the desire to ban all guns and just start with one. That might mean passing laws to make it more difficult to purchase a gun (via. background checks, older purchase age, restricting criminals to purchase, etc.). That might mean spending money, exploring new alternatives to help mentally ill people, and change the culture in our society by being kind to everyone.

A lot has to change, but nothing will change if we don’t start.

 

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About the Writer
Colin Nord, Journalist
Salutations readers! My name is Colin Nord, long time follower, first-time member of The LeSabre. I am most recognizable from my great involvement in activities such as student council, 7th Street, Tennis, Ping Pong Club, or more noteworthy, the weekly Pledge of Allegiance. I enjoy singing my favorite tunes in the shower and car, ice cream dates...
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Mass Shootings: when will enough be enough?