By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer
Another week in the United States when mass shootings were in the headlines has come and gone. By now, the media has moved on to other subjects, and most of us probably haven’t lost much sleep over the prominence of gun violence.
Every time there is a mass shooting, we have discussions about gun control and the countless unnecessary deaths of people.
I remember after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., I was heartbroken and horrified that someone would kill and injure that many people.
After that, I started researching past infamous mass shootings such as Sandy Hook and Columbine. I listened to interviews of the parents who lost their children and teachers who experienced the fear that their classroom would be next.
I had to ask myself, why does this keep happening? Why has nothing changed? Why are these events so common in the United States?
The big question truly is: how many times do we have to endure our fellow citizens, peers, friends and family being murdered before we do something about our gun laws?
When will it be the final straw?
If we weren’t moved as a nation after elementary school children were killed, will there ever be a moment when we all come together and fight gun violence as a country?
I find myself wondering if it will ever be enough until everyone has to personally experience a loved one being killed or the fear that they could have died in a mass shooting.
Other countries, such as New Zealand and England, acted swiftly after a mass shooting occurred. Only weeks after a massacre happened in New Zealand, military grade weapons were banned.
This is the kind of leadership that should be happening in the United States. We should see these atrocities and want to do something to keep them from happening again.
I know many people in America are attached to their individualism and their right to bear arms. However, is it not worth it to have gun control to protect your fellow citizens? Your family? Your friends? Just human beings in general?
Something has to change. This doesn’t mean the government is coming for all your guns or guns will be banned in the United States, but things cannot stay how they are. It is clearly not working.
We have to get rid of the gun show loophole. We need to ban citizens from owning military grade weapons. We have to have rigorous and reliable background checks.
Getting a license to own a gun should not be an easy thing. The right to bear arms doesn’t mean guns should be given to just anyone. You need to build up experience to own a weapon that has the power to kill.
Will gun reform stop all gun violence? Of course not. It is true that sometimes, people who want to kill will still find a way to get their hands on a gun. However, with stricter rules on the types of guns people can own and a more complicated process to obtain a permit, this will help to lower the amount of gun violence.
Beyond gun laws, we also have to be ready to acknowledge that a huge component to these mass shootings is white supremacy.
In the shooting in Atlanta, a white man killed six Asian women because he was eliminating his sexual temptations.
In August 2019, a white man killed 22 people in a Walmart in El Paso with the intention to shoot Latino people.
The common denominator in most mass shootings in the United States involve a white man who is heavily armed. We cannot ignore this. It’s not a coincidence.
There’s much to unpack when we discuss mass shootings. The bottom line is: we have to make change to protect our communities.
Every single person around us matters. We need to start having collective ideals rather than an individualistic attitude when we talk about laws and government. Putting others before ourselves is how we build a better future.