As I stare blankly at the pictures and videos of people running across my computer and tv screens, I start to wonder–– have I become desensitized to this? But more importantly, has the whole country?
The constant sound of gunshots has become the new norm.
This is the America that many have known their whole lives; one of violence and strife. It has been made very clear that this is no longer just the issue of the fiscally ill-fortuned.
Statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that an average of 93 Americans are killed every day by guns. Whether this statistic surprises you or not, it should make you think something is wrong.
What is needed is discussion and action on regulation, the kind of regulation that will keep one person from hurting hundreds of people in a matter of minutes. The idea that just one person had the power to kill over 50 people and injure around 500 in the Vegas shooting is appalling.
Regulations have become a debate as each new gun is categorized, which complicates the argument. What is and what is not an automatic gun becomes the stopping point of the argument. Each person using their gun knowledge to further their point confuses those who may not know a thing about guns.
The idea that we choose to avoid the conversation surrounding guns because we don’t know much about the subject is an issue. People should not stop talking about regulation of nuclear bombs just because we might not know how they are made. Sarah Huckabee, U.S. press secretary, does not think this conversation is the best timing due to a mourning period.
“There will certainly be a time for that policy discussion to take place, but that’s not the place that we’re in at this moment,” Huckabee said at a press conference.
Many other media sources such as FOX News responded in the same manner, stating that this was being politicized far too early, which, they said, was insensitive to the process of those mourning.
The argument against politicizing events is ironic due to the coverage of other tragedies having been politicized almost immediately. This tends to be the case on any subject besides guns.
Think back to any shooting where a person of color or a person from another country was the shooter: Certain media sources were quick to shout terrorism.
While the shooter in Vegas might not have had a political motive for his attack, he is just another white male in a long line of mass shooters in the last couple of years bringing fear to all Americans.
Even in the Vegas situation, certain media sources such as Fox News and Breitbart demonized people demanding gun regulation and in the same breath debated the safety of the hotels in which the shooter stayed in. They were not hesitant to point fingers and blame the hotel, and ignored who was the one truly at fault–– the individual who owned 47 guns.
When a man has the ability to purchase 47 guns legally from two gun shops, you have to wonder: What good can come from this system that allows a man to commit this type of atrocity? Could any regulation limiting numbers of guns one person could legally own at one time, or a regulation on the type of guns, change the devastation, and if so, how can we create those regulations?
States can initiate the change that is necessary to help these sorts of events from taking place. In the case of the Vegas shooting, it is clear with Nevada’s relaxed laws regarding carrying and buying guns that allowed for a certain amount of leeway for the shooter.
Days after the shooting, Democrats filibustered for regulations for approximately 15 hours with no real action taken by the end of the Democrats’ stand.
Four days later, a bill was passed again quietly by the National Rifle Association called the Dickey Amendment to keep the government from studying the causes of gun violence.
We are not the only country to have dealt with mass shootings, but we have done far less than other countries have to halt these devastating tragedies.
Australia has offered advice to America after reforming its laws in the late 90s after a mass shooting in Port Arthur, where restrictions were put in place over a matter of months. They banned semiautomatic and automatic guns and put restrictions on the wait period. This led to success, with people owning less guns and thus having less gun-related deaths.
While it is obvious that we need to change, it seems that change is going to be hard to come by in the near future unless people take responsibility for the country they live in, and speak up.