Tired of Being Slaughtered

Photo Curtesy of the New York Times

It’s been nearly three weeks since the Parkland Student Massacre and while much of the initial wave of change has begun to die down, it is still the longest that gun control measures have been on the table in recent memory. Of course there’s been a billion think piece articles describing why this issue is finally gaining traction, ranging from social media and a wave from “Me Too” to the ages of the teens and their being able to speak out in a way that the Sandy Hook children were. What it all boils down to though is that children are being killed regularly and sitting on our hands and saying “that’s how it is” is not enough.

Part of the problem as well stems from a belief in a larger conspiracy to destroy all guns. Many of the parents of Sandy Hook (who have to live with the horrific knowledge that their children’s bodies were SHREDDED by high-speed metal projectiles) still regularly receive death threats for “perpetuating a conspiracy” about a fake shooting, the same way that the Parkland kids are being discredited. “His father is in the FBI, he’s a crisis actor, they’re all being coached,” WHO CARES???? 17 children are dead in this incident alone. That’s likely over a thousand birthdays that never get to be celebrated when you consider their predicted lifespan before it was cut short. Over a thousand Christmas’s and an untold number of dinners with their families gone in a matter of minutes. The correct response to this is not to drag one’s feet to fight with others over petty partisan politics, but to do something. Anything. Background checks, age limits, store limits, limit on amount of ammo that can be bought, etc. etc. Each of these is something that affects maybe a handful of people and doesn’t limit the average person from getting a gun, and yet can save lives every year.

The United States is one of the only developed countries in the world to not even attempt basic regulations on guns and gun control. Australia banned guns with high success after a shooting in ’96. Japan heavily regulates where ammo and guns are stored and all information is provided to law enforcement among other measures. We are the anomaly, not the leaders. It’s not surprising when you consider that there is a broader and well planned out resistance to limiting gun restrictions. The Dickey Amendment of 1996 essentially places a gag order on gun research through the CDC and as thus there are no studies to discuss if background checks would work or if raising the age for gun purchases is a viable option to prevent more mass shootings.

If you aren’t calling for Congress to do something, then you are condemning children to die and it is absolutely your fault. Small measures are better than no measures. Maybe a bump stock wouldn’t have saved the 17 Parkland Kids, but it might save 15 at the local high school down the street from you 5 years from now. Nothing at all is not working. The Parkland kids are changing laws on a small level (Dicks Sporting Goods and other carriers raising purchase ages, Oregon closing loopholes letting abusers purchase guns, etc.) but it is time for a change at the congressional level. Too long the American public has listened to cries that “It’s too soon after the tragedy! Can’t we let the family grieve before we politicize this?” Well it’s been 3 weeks, the kids are buried and the rage is still fresh and the wound too deep for many in the country, let alone the kids affected. Is it time to have that discussion now? Or will we let another tragedy get swept under the rug until it’s your family member not coming home tomorrow.