For the third time in my life, I woke up to learning about the deadliest shooting in the history of The United States of America. I am 21-years old. How is it possible that in just 21 years of America’s 241-year history, I have seen the deadliest shooting ever three different times? And that doesn’t include December 2012 when I learned of Sandy Hook, the second deadliest shooting in American history at the time. It’s like a recurring nightmare. Each time, I, like most Americans, ask myself the same questions. How could someone willingly point an automatic weapon at an innocent crowd of people and let off round after round? Why do people have to be murdered so senselessly? Why do we have to live in a world like this?
Many voiced their devastation, shock, anger and disbelief on different social media platforms. Many also voiced their opinions on gun control. “It’s time to buckle down,” or “Enough is enough.” Others responded to those tweets encouraging people to take time to grieve and unite before pushing a political agenda. “It’s too soon to make this political,” or “Now isn’t the time to discuss gun control and policy.”
Well, if now isn’t the right time, when is?
How many times do we need to experience mass murder, terrorism, massacre, whatever you want to call it on our own turf before we start talking about gun control? We didn’t want to talk about it after Virginia Tech, we didn’t want to talk about it after Sandy Hook, San Bernardino, Orlando, and the list goes on. Something has to change. We can’t keep ignoring the issue until another 50 people get gunned down.
It’s not about forgetting to grieve the lives lost, or turning this into “a political thing.” It’s about preventing more innocent Americans from being killed. And if you want to complain about people discussing policy “too soon,” then why didn’t you have a problem when Donald Trump immediately discussed banning Muslims and tightening borders after Orlando? If the Vegas shooter had a Muslim name, if his skin was a little darker, I can’t help but wonder how many people would want to discuss border policy or a ban of all Muslims. People only want to discuss policy when it’s convenient for them and supports their political outlook.
But White, Black, Asian, Muslim — IT DOES NOT MATTER. Race and ethnicity are not the issue. Rifles are. For what reason did this man, or any American for that matter, need multiple rifles in his possession? It’s time for the American public to stop creating different reasons and excuses for these shootings. And this time there is no excuse. He wasn’t Muslim. No documented mental health issue. He had no previous criminal record. So stop being selfish. Stop loving and caring about your guns so much that you forget to care about the lives of innocent people.
But it’s not just the Americans who have guns and are in favor of the second amendment. It’s our very own government. Our leaders are money hungry. Since 1998 the National Rifle Association has donated millions of dollars to current members of Congress. Because the greedy members of our government are afraid of losing those oh-so-kind donations, they’re afraid to make laws banning assault rifles. It’s all so avoidable, but for some reason money is valued more than innocent lives.
But part of me has lost any hope that things will change. If we couldn’t talk about and change gun laws after Sandy Hook, why would we ever? I’m amazed at how many people were complacent with the murdering of children in an elementary school. If that didn’t make people queasy enough, if that didn’t make people value their guns and money less and life more, then I’m not sure what will. I just hope that someone will step up, someone will do something before I wake up to the country’s deadliest mass shooting for the fourth time in my life.