America, wake up

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It’s the new year for America, and with a new year comes new opportunities. It’s undeniable that the country has gone through many changes this past year; for better or for worse.

But there’s one aspect of American culture that seems frustratingly stagnant no matter how much time passes. And with the new year comes a new mass shooting.

Seventeen students and staff members were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Catastrophes on this level are almost typical at this point.

It seems like every year there’s a new tragedy in the United States relating to gun violence. One can’t forget the Las Vegas shooting from last year, or the Pulse shooting two years before.

After all, it’s been six years since twenty children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School and nothing has really seemed to change.

We seem to go through the same situation every year. News coverage shows scenes of chaos and people in terror. We see pictures of anguished loved ones in tears. We witness politicians give out their empty condolences as they insist that there’s nothing they can do. This all goes on for a month or so till we move on to the next thing.

Until another shooting happens and the cycle starts over again.

It’s frustrating to hear the same debate and the same spiels over and over again. You endure the endless Facebook posts blaming the ‘liberal media’ and even more posts saying that it’s ‘too soon’ to talk about gun control.

But when is the right time to talk about gun control? When is the right time to take action?

There have already been 1,991 deaths caused by gun violence this year alone. America is the 31st highest ranking country when it comes to gun violence. America has eight times the amount of violent gun deaths compared to neighboring country Canada.

It’s obvious that change is needed., but many refuse the idea of making any changes to how we deal with gun regulation.

One big argument I always hear is that alleged criminals would find access to firearms even if they couldn’t do it legally. But with that excuse, you could pretty much make a case against all regulations.

Many of these mass shootings were committed with firearms that were obtained legally. The Florida shooter had purchased at least ten rifles in the past year with at least two of those being legally bought at a store. He was able to do this despite the fact of his known violent behavior.

At this point, I struggle to understand why anyone needs easy access to assault rifles anyway. You don’t need an assault rifle to hunt and you don’t need an assault rifle to defend yourself. You wouldn’t say that everyone has the right to own bombs or other deadly weapons. Then why is it seen as a right to own an assault rifle?

It’s not that I think guns should be completely banned in America. It’s the fact that a purchase of a firearm is not given the proper regulation in the way of any other dangerous object. Why is it easier to get a gun than it is to get a driver’s license?

I would love it if one day we all woke up and the culture of violence in America has disappeared overnight. But in the real world, we need tangible action in order to help prevent tragedies like Florida from happening.

One of the most frustrating narratives I hear is that mass shootings, like Parkland, are inevitable. There’s always something to be done to prevent these things from happening.

Every time a shooting like this happens I always wonder if this is going to be the one that actually inspires some kind of change. It’s an endless waiting game. Maybe this time someone will actually listen. Or maybe next year we’ll get a whole new tragedy and the cycle will continue on and on.

Maybe someday America will wake up.