USA Gun Violence: Beyond the Guns – By Yvonne Sam

Beyond the Guns – By Yvonne Sam

It’s clear to see America is facing a crisis of responsibility.

Once again America is engulfed in what she does best—mourn, the most recent reason being the senseless killing of 14 students and 3 faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas HighSchool in Parkland, Florida—-the 18th school shooting for the current year, and the 291st since 2013.  To any concerned human, the revelation of such data sounds like a serious crisis that beggars immediate attention.    

Most troubling of all, is the fact that following each deadly shooting rampage, which by now can be considered almost routine, there is a rush to make each incident follow a familiar script, or a politically convenient template.

Every possible cause for the epidemic of graphic violence has received consideration – from the number of guns/ assault weapons, social media, anti-depressant drugs violent video games and films, family and moral decline, the waning influence of churches and inadequate mental health policies. From a political stance, the liberals blame lax gun control and the conservatives attack tolerance towards terrorists groups, with neither side addressing the key issue—how to stop the killings.

Of special note is the fact that after every incident, the mental health discussion is put in motion, but sadly gets nowhere. Pray tell, what balanced, well-adjusted, composed, mental person is capable of mass murder?

Before anything much was known about the Parkland shooting, the usual simplistic solutions for curbing the “epidemic of mass slaughter in schools” were being proffered. The use of firearms in mass shootings is the common denominator, with variables such as political ideology, religious zeal and mental illness serving as motivating factors.

Yes, there are other countries that have people suffering from mental illness, political and religious fanatics and discontented workers but none with a body count as remotely high as America. The unchanging variable is that in America, virtually anyone can amass an arsenal of handguns and assault rifles, as the country also has some of the weakest controls over who may buy a gun and what sorts of guns may be owned.

We’ve listened to the rhetoric:  Guns don’t kill. People do. Of the 300 million of all kinds of guns currently in circulation in America, only an infinitesimal fraction are used by people to hurt other people. The one quirk that consistently flummoxes fans and critics alike is, “Why, they ask, does America experience so many mass shootings? There have been calls for the implementation of a national policy of putting metal detectors in every school.

An answer is needed for this senseless loss of lives. The fact is clear; America has a serious problem with gun violence the statistics speak for themselves.  Americans need to give a damn as it is blatantly obvious that so far they have not.  Basically translated, giving a damn requires Americans to commit to solving the problem.  Gun violence must become a personal, personal enough to make us change—

  • Columbine, Sandy Hook, Aurora did not make us change
  • 26 children and 6 adults killed in Newtown, did not make us change.
  • 49 young adults at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando , Florida
  • 58 country music fans in Las Vegas
  • 26 churchgoers in Texas
  • and now 14 students and 3 faculty members in Parkland, Florida would not make us change either. In a few days after the plethora of remaining in thoughts and prayers sent, the news cycle will change and life will go on as usual, until the next call for mourning.

While we do not have to agree on the causal factors behind any mass shooting, we must all agree that we want to solve the problem of mass shootings. We do not need to know how to solve the problem, but we just need to put our best minds to the task of solving it. Things will only change when enough Americans determine that they must.

Something must be going on in American society that has changed the landscape and caused angry, evil or mentally disturbed young men to plan and carry out these mass shootings.

If the flawed argument is still in play that Guns do not kill people. People do, then America answer the question—What type of people are you?

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  • Trebor  On 02/19/2018 at 9:18 am

    Frankly, when I saw the headline in the newspaper, I didn’t bother reading the article. I told myself that I really didn’t care. I can’t give them sympathy anymore. I have run out of the capacity to mourn with Americans. If the ordinary man wants to stop the killing of his children, his family and his fellow Americans why does he not stand up and be counted? Why cry and mourn repeatedly? DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! It is true that mental health, no, all health needs to be addressed in America. It is also true that guns don’t kill people, people do, but they do that mostly with guns. Let’s face it; these guns are made for one purpose only, killing people, so stop the selling of those guns. Once again nothing will change, I’m done, just keep killing each other but don’t bother publishing it or expecting people to mourn the loss of your loved ones with you, after all, it has become a way of life that it seems nobody really cares to change.

  • Mark  On 02/20/2018 at 8:28 pm

    “Something must be going on in American society that has changed the landscape and caused angry, evil or mentally disturbed young men to plan and carry out these mass shootings.”

    As Freddie Kissoon observed, Western post-industrial society tends to alienate young men that they resort to radicalization. It’s only because white men have it easier to own semi-automatics that the majority of these mass shooters are young white men with a grievance against social issues like feminism, gay rights, racial issues and immigration.

    Post-industrial Western society is very rigid and very conformist, that young men who have issues tend to have it bottled up until they either turn to radicalization, or they snap out and use gun violence.

    Wealth inequality also plays a role in this, because young men who feel disenfranchised in their society will lash out at it as a form of revenge or backlash against what young men perceive as unfairness to young men.

    While it can be arguable that the Isla Vista Mass shooter, Elliott Rodgers, came from a wealthy family in Hollywood, his grievances were about Western society and how he couldn’t find a girlfriend.

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