In light of the recent opinion piece released by the New York Times, I’d like to share some of the thoughts that have been bothering me over the past few years in regards to guns, the lack of regulation of said guns, and in turn, the embarrassment the United States has brought upon itself in recent years. For those who don’t know, the New York Times’ Editorial Board published an impressive and incredibly needed opinion piece of the gun epidemic in America, which you can read here.
The CNN reporter’s first words after news of the mass shooting in San Bernardino came in were, “Here we go, again, breaking news into CNN reports of an active shooter.” Even she, in her voice, upset at the redundancy of the upcoming report. Another day, another mass shooting in the United States.
Let me start off by saying I know many people who own guns. I know people who keep guns in their homes, I know people who carry guns with them (legally), and I know people who work with guns on a daily basis. I have never once questioned their ability or common sense to use and handle their guns. I have never felt threatened in their presence. I understand the right citizen’s are granted by the 2nd Amendment to obtain a gun for protection. I understand the need and want to protect your family and loved ones in a world where walking outside your front door is deemed too dangerous. And if the United States wasn’t what it is today- in a place where we have become desensitized to the headline “mass shooting” – then maybe I would still believe in all of that. Maybe I would still respect the right that all citizens have to carry a gun. Maybe I would say that we don’t need stricter regulations for buying guns. But today, I cannot.
My feelings are summed up by one sentence in the aforementioned New York Times article which states,
It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.
Another New York Times’ article from yesterday reads, “In Scotland, Unlike America, Mass Shooting Led to Stricter Gun Laws”. So I guess it is possible… right?
Our country has become a joke around the world. We are able to openly criticize ourselves at how morally backwards we are, and yet, do nothing. Granted, there are people who are trying. The Daily Show aired a montage of President Obama speaking at a press conference after every mass shooting in the past few years, showing him visually growing weary and tired, and his tone, becoming more irritated. But without the backing of Congress and to my bewilderment, the support garnered for the NRA, who continue to support the 2nd Amendment and seem to conveniently forget the consequences of their platform when another mass shooting becomes known, nothing will change. Our administration unfortunately plays like a broken record.. “Something must be done”. We’ve heard it far too many times.
Ted Cruz, a candidate for President, attended a gun rally two days after the mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA which left 14 people dead. If this is our future, I don’t know if I want to be a part of it.
To those who support the right to own a gun as a constitutional right, well, technically you’re right. However, need I remind you that the right is an amendment.
noun• a change or addition to a legal or statutory document: an amendment to existing bail laws.
Amendment’s can be changed, and should be based on the social, political, and economic changes in our society over the course of time. The 2nd Amendment was ratified in 1791. 224 years later, with a voice slightly larger than those founding fathers sitting around a table, we no longer need the protection of a gun in our possession. Laws must be amended to keep up with the progress of human kind. Therefore, change is in order. It is needed.
And no, not everyone who commits a mass shooting obtained the weapon legally. Most of them obtained them illegally and have serious mental conditions that should be treated. Our government should be working towards getting those who have mental health issues the help they need and deserve. Likewise, if you couldn’t just walk into a store and a buy a gun on a good ole Monday, it would most likely make it a bit more difficult for someone to obtain one illegally as well. As the New York Times article stated, it is absolutely absurd that anyone can walk into a store and buy a weapon that has the power to end someone’s life. Buying a gun should not be as easy as buying a pair of shoes.
Oh, yes. The beloved guns don’t kill people, people kill people argument. While I understand the premise of the argument, for hate is in the person, not the weapon (if we’re getting philosophical), it’s just wrong. The gun is responsible for the victim’s death. You are incorrect.
I highly recommend reading the New York Times’ article linked above, and to reflect on the situation our country has found itself in. I’m still in the process of learning a lot about this issue. I am surely no expert. I have opinions. I am undeniably liberal. These are all important to note when writing an opinion piece. I’m not attacking anyone who thinks differently. I am just concerned for the well-being of myself, my loved ones, my family, and my future children to be living in a world where going outside means facing a possible act of terrorism.
When I was 18, I went to Montana with my best friend’s family for a few week’s to spend time at the home they had there. On one of the afternoon’s my friend’s dad (a former sheriff of the San Francisco Police Department), took us out to the range to shoot guns. He taught me how to load one, and hold one, and shoot one at a wooden target. I remember trembling (which in retrospect, probably would have been the time to put it down) because I was so scared to be holding something that could end someone’s life. He put me through that situation so that in case of an emergency, I could defend myself. And I am grateful for that, but wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a place where we didn’t have to worry about defending ourselves with guns?
You know, just in case you didn’t think it was possible.