Never Being Boring: On gun control — if not now, then when?
Evan Hatfield is a sophomore journalism major and writes "Never Being Boring" for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Evan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I never thought much of guns when I was younger. The closest I've ever come to holding a gun was mindlessly playing Duck Hunt with a laser zapper (or whatever it was supposed to be) on my NES.
Time passed. I came to see guns as part of society; they may have caused terrible things, but if people wanted them in self-defense, more power to them, I thought.
Then Las Vegas happened. Reality set in. I realized that having more guns in defense probably would not have helped in any sense. Visions of what might have been played through in my head like a deadly Looney Tunes cartoon.
That was the day I turned my back on guns for good.
It’s been almost five months since then. The shootings certainly haven't slowed down, even if nobody’s paid much mind to them. It’s outright sickening. According to The Guardian, in the 1,870 days, there have been 1,624 mass shootings in this country. That’s close to 2,000 lives cut short, and more injured.
Still, nothing has happened.
According to a Pew Research study, there are between 270 and 310 million firearms in the United States (almost as many guns as there are people!), and there's no indication that number will go down anytime soon.
So many more innocent lives were lost last Wednesday in Florida in yet another mindless tragedy, and who knows how many more people will fall victim in the future to mindless tragedies along the same lines?
And yet the same arguments get pulled out, time and time again, as if to avoid the issue.
“It’s not the guns,” lawmakers say. “It's the mental health.”
They may not be wrong, but they’re certainly dodging the issue at hand. Almost every country in the world is facing issues related to mental health. A better question might be this: how many countries are facing problems with guns on a similar scale to this one?
Certainly none with living standards along the same lines as us. A 2016 study conducted by The American Journal of Medicine found Americans are 10 times more likely than people from other developed countries to be killed by guns.
And still, nothing has happened.
Thoughts and prayers, it seems, take priority over actual action in times like this. Florida Senator Marco Rubio went so far as to say that gun control would not have stopped Wednesday’s shooting.
At least we were lucky enough to get any sort of response from him. Goodness knows what else will be said.
“Now is not the time,” government officials will invariably say before leaving the discussion behind, setting the stage for the whole cycle to repeat again when another mass shooting comes along.
Seriously? This is my question: when is the time, then? Are we just going to stand back, letting more and more innocent people die in the supposed name of freedom? Are we going to keep letting children die, too?
The question grow even more dire. Why do we allow this to keep happening? What must we as Americans do to make any progress at all? Can we even make progress?
And still, nothing has happened.
I worry our future generations will look down on us in shame. “Why didn't they do anything?” they’ll say. “Why did they just let these keep happening?”
The optimist in me would like to believe that we will someday find a way to get past this barrier that has plagued us for so long and pass gun control laws that will make this country safer than it has been over the past several years.
The pessimist in me believes that probably won't happen in my lifetime.
Though it may take many more shootings, and though it may take many more lives before we get there, one thing’s for sure: that pessimist would love to be proven wrong.