Gun control. These two words were plastered on the front page of almost every relevant news source as the United States and the world reeled at the Vegas tragedy.
Outcry. People took to social media to express their outrage at the gun control problem still so prevalent in this nation that seems to fight a mass shooting every few years.
Rationality. Something so sorely missed in this age of instant information, as emotions ran high and acerbic verbal attacks ensued mere hours after the shooting itself.
As people curse Congress and the government for the lack of action regarding gun control, many pressing questions should be considered and asked. Most importantly, is it a gun problem here in America or a violence problem?
In the U.S., weapon laws are simple— be a certain age and have a driver’s license —but where are the requirements pertaining to actual gun ownership?
To look at one side of the argument, while it may be obvious to many, some fail to realize the consequences that come with a lack of regulation by the government. As technology rapidly advances each day, there are more opportunities for more dangerous weapons, for more dangerous people to gain access to these weapons and for more lives to face arguably preventable danger.
From Luby’s Cafeteria in 1991, Virginia Tech in 2007, Sandy Hook in 2012, Pulse Nightclub in 2016, and finally, Las Vegas, last Sunday, in the past twenty-six years, the U.S. has seen the five most deadly shootings in its history.
But the much harder side to consider is that perhaps this is not a gun problem. Maybe this is not a matter of bullets and firearms. Maybe, just maybe, it is a violence problem here in America.
To bring this into perspective, Finland— a country with gun laws just as lax as the United States —has next to no mass shootings. Violence at the level of the Las Vegas massacre plays no such role in America’s European counterpart, despite the prevalence of guns in general. Why then should we continue to blame the gun for the blood spilled?
And to satisfy one group is to antagonize another. At the moment it may seem like the nation is fervently outraged, angered by the Vegas tragedy. But to many, the right to own guns is a fundamental part of their American existence. The Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights preaches exactly that. When taking a position in this controversial calamity, it is of the utmost importance to think of both parties, both fighting for their own beliefs.
In its totality, the answer to this polarizing issue is far from easily obtained. Had it been so, the nation would already have come to a satisfying conclusion. Rather, both sides pose strong arguments, both sides are entitled to their opinions and beliefs. What remains now is this.
We cannot continue to normalize gun violence. We cannot let this become another event on our list, another few dozen killed, another statistic. We cannot stop caring about gun policy after the buzz dies down and let a few weeks pass to lull us back into complacency. It would be a crime to do so, and just as much a detriment on our part as it would be if we were to pick up guns and start firing.
Rather, we must take action. Digital warriors do nothing for the nation. It is the active, outspoken warrior that will ultimately make a difference.
So before you jump onto Twitter to once again launch a vitriolic attack against your local representative, think twice. Think before you type out nasty bullets of criticism. Think of what you can do, should do, and hopefully, will do for this country.