567 vs. 1

October 11, 2017

Image: NBC News 

 

One man with 17 guns changed 567 lives forever. As Americans we were told by our government’s press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, that “we will come together united as one nation, under God, and indivisible… I think that we can have those policy conversations, but today is not that day.” .

   

Unfortunately, today is the only day. Today is not the first day there will be children without parents and parents without children as a result of gun violence. After twenty innocent children were gunned down in Sandy Hook, no action was taken, no laws changed. After the Orlando shooting, no action was taken. It’s hard to see how anything, even this newest tragedy, will have a lasting impact. All of us have seen the numbers- America has an undeniable gun violence problem. This week we will undoubtedly see two of the same arguments used time and time again:

 

  1. A good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun.

  2. Banning guns won’t stop violence.

 

A colleague, Rufus Smith, pointed out that Nevada has some of the most lax gun laws in the country. Why wasn’t he stopped by a so called “good guy with a gun?” Then imagine the crazed panic that would have happened if people in the audience started shooting up at the Mandalay Bay? If someone in Nevada can hurt 500 people before they’re stopped, clearly it can’t be stopped in time. Here’s one answer to the first argument that restricting guns won't stop people from doing evil things. For example, if all we have are knives people will still kill people. Yes, but they won't be able to hurt five hundred people at once.

 

After the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, 56 senators killed legislation that would have made it nearly impossible to legally buy a gun without a background check. The majority of those senators are still in office, and the NRA still has more senators in their pocket than the majority whip does at this point.

 

Thoughts and prayers are simply not enough anymore, because thoughts and prayers do nothing. Actions such as gun control, ammo restrictions and background checks have a real effect.

 

I'm writing this the night after the shooting. I’m baffled how one 64 year-old man killed 59 people and injured more than 500; how he acted as a one-man army on American soil and killed our friends and family. This is not a normal thing or something that should be ignored and shuffled out of the news cycle. Gun control needs to be enacted soon or next year there will be a shooting worse than this, just as this was worse than Orlando. Regardless of this man’s race or religious beliefs this was a terrorist attack that wouldn’t be possible without easy access to high caliber automatic weapons.

 

Thoughts and prayers are not enough anymore.

 

Some of these arguments come from friends and colleagues. Thanks to Jacob Rufus Smith.

 

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