Every time it happens we wonder, “why do innocent people keep dying?” Maybe instead, we need to be reminding each other that gun violence has to end, and actually take proactive steps to prevent more members of our communities from being murdered.
As America’s mass shootings become more common, we add two places to the list: Santa Clarita on Thursday, Nov. 14, and Fresno on Sunday, Nov. 17. These news stories have become so familiar to us that we no longer feel the urgency the haunting issue of gun violence requires from us.
In Santa Clarita, a student opened gunfire at a high school, killing two students and injuring three before attempting to kill himself. This all happened in a matter of seconds. It only took 16 seconds for a teenager to forever alter the lives of his community by taking the lives of innocent young adults. The shooting in Fresno has potential links to gang violence and occurred at a family gathering at home; 10 people were shot, with four dying from gunshot wounds.
Time and time again we face the issue of gun violence with more deaths each year, yet nothing has been done. If you are wondering if we are angry, then you are right. If you aren’t enraged at this point, you are not paying attention. Every time people die due to gun violence, we fall into the predictable cycle of thoughts and prayers, debates over changing gun laws and pretty much nothing else until the next time more members of our communities are senselessly murdered.
In the U.S., we are sending the message that it is okay for innocent citizens to continually die because the economy and the National Rifle Association (NRA) are more important. We should be ashamed that our country has such a high rate of gun violence. Americans are 25 times more likely to die from gun homicides than citizens in other wealthy countries, as reported by Time.
Here are a few active steps our country can take to prevent gun violence. A culture of gun safety, where firearms should not be in the hands of young people who might be at risk of harming themselves or others. We need to stop protecting the NRA and others in the gun industry. Manufacturers of such weapons must be held responsible for the misuse of their products. Moreover, there must be mandatory training for gun owners.
While many of us argue that we must get rid of guns to solve the problem of gun violence, maybe the first, smaller step is to acknowledge that will not be happening anytime soon. Instead, we need to be thinking about alternative short-term solutions, because every day we don’t do anything is another day innocent Americans are killed.
For more information on gun violence, check out Social Justice on Page 5.