Does that word make you nervous? Uneasy? Sad? Disappointed? Afraid?
Well, if you live in the United States and have read the news or visited social media in the past few weeks, it should make you feel one, if not all, of those things.
Writing about gun control is something I’ve contemplated ever since I started my blog. There have been many times when I’ve briefly touched upon the issue, as well as one post where I had my own, thankfully minor, experience with gun culture. It is something that has truly divided this country, but more importantly brought devastation to far too many individuals on a daily basis.
It wasn’t until two journalists were shot and killed on air in Virginia this past Summer and nine students were shot and killed at Umpqua College in Oregon this past month, that I felt I, a college student and aspiring journalist, had an obligation to address the obvious issue that this country faces: gun violence.
I’m so tired of waking up every morning, scrolling through Twitter and seeing reports of threatened gun violence on college campuses. I’m so tired of being cautious when going to the movies, because of the recent mass shootings that have taken place. Aren’t you tired?
Of course you are. News flash: this is not normal. The matter of the fact is plain and simple: this does not happen anywhere else except for the U.S. Just take a look at these statistics, among many, that blatantly show this fact.
I feel as though I used to be open to giving anti-gun control arguments my time of day. Everyone deserves to have an opinion, everyone deserves to have a say, and both sides of an argument should be acknowledged before a conclusion can be made. But, honestly, I’m completely over listening to the other side. How can anyone, after reading about the horrors that occur DAILY from gun violence, truly believe that their “right” as an American to own a gun is more important than the almost 11,000 lives that have been lost in 2015 already, from gun violence. What if it was your daughter? Your friend? Your loved one? Would you seriously still believe that the perpetrator’s ‘mental health’ is the sole reason behind their fatal actions, and the gun was just an accessory?
The point is, if you’re walking around with a gun for your own ‘defense’, how the hell am I supposed to know that you aren’t one of those ‘crazy’ people? I don’t. How can having a gun make me feel safe, if I have to wonder whether the other people around me who also have guns are a threat or just law abiding citizens who carry it for their defense and rights as a citizen?
There are so many things wrong with this.
If people are sitting in a movie theater and someone starts shooting, how in the world will every single other person pulling out a gun actually defend anyone? As much as I try to understand this point of view, I truly see no validity in it at all. I cannot fathom how this repetitive argument, that “if the teacher/ civilians/ students etc. had a gun, this could have been avoided” makes sense to anyone. People kill people. Guns kill people. People use guns to kill people.
Like I said, my purpose is not to ignore the other point of view. I have given it a listening ear and I have acknowledged the arguments, but I also have had enough of the devastation and fear that lingers in our country.
What about gun control?
A Stanford study conducted in 2014 shows that the right-to-carry gun laws is actually linked to an increase in violent crime.
Of course, these statistics only tell us so much. There are so many other factors to look at that would truly show us whether gun control would actually prevent these re- occurring mass shootings. But in the end, it’s not about the statistics, or the evidence. It’s about the slightest possibility that making changes in our laws could save lives.
We need gun control.
Not to piss off gun enthusiasts. Not to take away our rights. But to potentially save lives, and to take actions that could have saved the thousands of lives lost already this year.