A memorial honoring the lives of those who died in the Tree of Life synagogue. (Wikipedia)
“‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens” read a headline for an article in The Onion after the Isla Vista killings in 2014. Despite being the work of a provocative satire news source, it cited frighteningly true statistics about how the United States is the “nation where over half of the world’s deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the past 50 years and whose citizens are 20 times more likely to die of gun violence than those of other developed nations.”
That same article has been edited and re-posted following every mass shooting in the United States. Last Saturday, it was uploaded, yet again, to demonstrate that six years after Sandy Hook, nothing has changed.
It appears that at least every few months, the nation is “shocked” or “devastated” by yet another senseless tragedy that will bring us to our thoughts and prayers but nothing more. The rhetoric around guns is so volatile and partisan that civil debate on the topic is rare.
People need to put down their pitchforks. It’s time to discuss common-sense gun control that both sides can support. In America, it is impractical to call for a ban on all guns. Americans have the right to bear arms and defend themselves. Increased security, however, is not the solution to gun violence. Most organizations can not afford to hire armed guards. Also, this nation needs less violence, not reminders of fear at institutions of worship.
The main focus has to be on preventing access to firearms for those who can’t be trusted to own a weapon capable of quickly ending multiple lives from a distance, without taking guns away from the “good guys.”
There’s a variety of different legislative options that can help achieve this goal and decrease gun violence as a whole. Mass shootings are only a small part of the problem.
Increasing the strictness of the background check system would be a good place to start. We’ve seen too many headlines like “The Shooter Was Reported To the FBI” or “The Killer Was Mentally Ill.” Our background checks need to catch these things.
We could make owning a gun like owning a car. New drivers are required to take hours of classes and pass tests to ensure they don’t endanger themselves or others on the road. A gun arguably poses more of a threat than a car, so why not make the process of acquiring one the same?
Other options like supporting Local Violence Prevention programs and closing the gun show loophole can contribute, too.
At this tragic juncture, anything would be helpful. Politicians can repeat their partisan talking points over and over again, but it accomplishes nothing. These legislative measures need to be put in place.
Changing the culture of hate that created the Tree of Life shooter can take years. A vote to save innocent lives shouldn’t.