PICKART: When will enough be enough?

Graphic+by+Alexandra+Garner+

Graphic by Alexandra Garner

The recent mass shootings in Atlanta and Colorado were a clear wake up call that gun violence still dominates this nation and exudes pain among our people.

This nation is hurting and it needs to heal. Yet, gun violence prevails, stripping away any opportunity or hope we may have for healing.

We are broken and we forever will be broken, that is, until guns no longer have a place in our world. 

There is no doubt that gun violence in America is rampant and continues to be common occurrence, shattering the lives of so many in America. Mass shootings and gun violence should be inexcusable in our society. We are killing our own people and tearing apart schools, families and communities. 

Without more aggressive gun control, we will continue to live in the cycle of mourning; We will try to return to normalcy, only for another mass shooting to occur a few days, weeks or months in the future.

The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation found that for violent gun deaths per 100,000 people in 2019, the United States had an alarmingly high rate of 3.96 deaths compared to other countries, like the U.K. (.04), Japan (.07) and Singapore (.01). While the U.S. has been deemed as a wealthy country internationally, its gun deaths are higher than that of nearly all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which is home to many of the world’s poorest countries. 

It is clear that, no matter the economic prestige of America, the gun violence in our country persists. It will continue to persist, regardless of our economic status and we should not trust the false narrative that, because America is wealthy, we are ultimately safe. In reality, it’s evident that we are not at all safe from gun violence.

Today is day 90 of 2021, and there have already been 117 mass shootings. There have been more mass shootings that days this year.

The American public should not have to worry about being gunned down in a Colorado supermarket, an Atlanta spaneighborhoods they live in and the schools they attend, such as Sandy Hook and Parkland. Yet, we are constantly reminded of the bloodshed guns cause across the nation. Your anxieties and fears are completely legitimate. 

The National Rifle Association and the Republican Party can no longer blame gun violence on mental health and mental illness. More specifically, Republicans often deem these mass shooters as social misfits, such as describing the El Paso shooter who killed 20 people at a Walmart Aug. 3, 2019 as being “quiet, anti-social and a bit strange.” 

The NRA often veers away from making any public statements regarding mass shootings, instead pushing the narrative that “(t)he only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

The silence is wrong, deeply concerning and is dangerous to the well-being of this nation. The NRA and the Republican Party must speak out against the violence, injustices and hate crimes that have occurred in the U.S. due to guns.

In contrast, Democrats often focus on deregulation of guns, while also blaming Republican institutions for the lack of gun control in the U.S. 

The polarization of the U.S. political culture also ultimately bleeds into the issue of gun control and can prevent public leaders from passing gun regulation policy. The way guns are used shape the lives of individuals and of societies. They are dangerous. The issues of guns and gun control must be at the forefront of both parties’ agendas, as this is an issue about human life, not party affiliation. 

The question then comes to whether or not we can trust guns in the hands of our citizens. At this point in time, in direct parallel with gun violence statistics, it is clear that we cannot and should not. 

No one deserves to die from gun violence. We must do better. The violence in American communities, as well as the mass shootings and horrifying injustices that occur due to guns, must come to an end. 

Both political parties must be willing to recognize the pain and detriment that guns currently have in American society. It is essential that cross-party discussions take place in order to proactively combat gun violence. Gun control is essential and time is limited. 

Call upon legislators to create and establish laws and legislations that reduce the accessibility of guns across America. Vote for individuals that support strict gun regulation and legislation to reduce and take away guns from American society.  

This story was written by Max Pickart. He can be reached at max.pickart@marquette.edu