1999 was a year which I remember only too well, and for two reasons.
The first being that it was the year when I started ClickAgents, the business that was one of the turning points of my entrepreneurial journey. It was also the year when the Columbine High School Massacre shook the very fabric of the United States.
Back then, it was considered the deadliest instance of the school shooting in the country. With 13 confirmed dead and over 20 injured, this incident raised some apt questions about gun control in the US.
Sadly, over two decades later, those questions still remain unanswered. In fact, I’d say they’ve come back to haunt us in the form of the recent massacre at Robb Elementary School in the rural community of Uvalde, Texas.
19 young lives, along with 2 adults, extinguished in the blink of an eye.
Questions Breed Questions
Right now, the media is ripe and rife with experts debating whether the shooter, Salvador Ramos, had a disturbed childhood or similar psychological trauma. I even heard reports that he was probably bullied in school himself, which is something I’m all too familiar with.
However, I believe that the real root of the problem is twofold. True, youngsters nowadays are more disturbed and exposed to violence than ever. And this is leading to frustration, irritation, and depression, which often finds an outlet in more violence.
But pinning the problem onto mental health alone is not right if you ask me. The other side of the coin must be explored as well. The side that hides the fact is that the US is home to almost half the total number of guns in the entire world and has the easiest access to these machines. No one should have the power or capability to do the harm that Salvador Ramos did if he did not have access to these weapons.
While I do not deny that law-abiding citizens have the right to protect their property, statistics do not lie. There are currently 121 firearms for every 100 citizens in the United States, which means that there are more guns per household in America than computers. That should summarize and inform you about the state and priorities of America and its legislators. And the only extra “liberty” we get is the right to watch our children die in school.
Isn’t that price too high just to buy the right to use firearms? Is that the kind of future we want to give our kids?
Where instead of focusing on the joys of learning, they keep their eyes and ears open every moment in school, fearing the gun-toting monsters who might come in at any moment and end their lives?
Having lived in the United States for the majority of my life, I’m sure new couples are thinking twice about starting a family here. This is not the America we all love and fantasize about. While I was bullied as a child, I don’t recall ever being afraid of being shot in school. I can’t imagine what a child experiences when they hear of these episodes, nor can I imagine what parents feel every time they have that feeling, “What if it was my child?”
Sadly, the solution to the problems that breed the above questions can be simple. Only if we choose to see it and accept it.
The Panacea Of Gun Control
President Biden has already gone on record saying that gun control is the way to stop these mass killings, and I have to say I agree. Limiting access to firearms is the only way to stop such tragedies from recurring.
While the lobby for “gun freedom” might shout foul and focus on mental health, the need of the hour is to prevent these killings. Going deep into the psyche of troubled individuals is certainly essential to stop such crimes. But that is a complicated process, one for which complex laws might need to be formulated
Right now, we have a problem with access and numbers. Can we agree that there would be fewer school shootings if America had less than 46 percent of the world’s guns? Can any politician explain how the planet’s remaining 7.4 billion people can live “FREE” with roughly the same number of guns? What other “freedoms” do we have besides mass shootings?
While the elders in hallowed halls debate the perils and profitability of guns, kids are dying. And those who advocate putting more armed guards in front of schools to prevent wayward gunners, well, you’re only trying to solve the problem with more of the problem itself.
The Time To Act Is Now
So, what I say is, enough talk: it’s time to take action and ensure that such incidents don’t happen again. And gun control is the easiest way to achieve that. Once access to guns is regulated, we can then focus on the mental health side of things.
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which killed 26 people nearly a decade ago, Democrats pushed for the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, which was passed by the House in 2021. However, it has been stuck in the Senate for more than a year.
H.R. 8 would close a loophole that allows for the waiver of background checks in transactions with unlicensed and private sellers, such as those conducted online or at gun shows. The bill is widely considered to be one of the most significant new gun control measures introduced in Congress in a generation.
H.R. 8 was introduced solely in response to the public outpouring of grief in the aftermath of the deadliest school shooting in nearly a decade. Nonetheless, legal and firearms experts are skeptical that the bill will be passed, despite the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas.
If anyone is listening, the time to act is now. Let us not waste any more time debating the pros and cons. The pro of fewer mass shootings outweighs any disadvantages. There are lives on the line, and we must not repeat another Robb Elementary tragedy, so please contact your Senator’s office as soon as possible. And keep calling them until they become irritated. Annoy them until they get what you’re saying. If experts are still skeptical that they will have enough votes to simply close a loophole that currently allows a waiver for background checks, it just shows where priorities are and that they are still unaware of the gravity of the situation.
If you’re reading this, I mean it. Turn back and read the last sentence again. And, ask yourself, why is it so difficult for your senator not to agree to this?
That, in my opinion, is the issue: we can either stop the cycle of destruction or we can do nothing. And every time another shooting occurs, I could simply retweet this article.
Washington, it’s time to bite the bullet.
And if you’re wondering how this story ends. Just know that if you’ve read this far, it’s now entirely dependent on the actions you take after reading this.
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