On April 20, 1999, two students walked into the cafeteria of Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. By the end of that day, the school would forever be known for the events that took place earlier that morning, when two teenage boys shot and killed 12 fellow students and a teacher before eventually committing suicide in the school library.
This was not by any means the first mass shooting in American history, nor would it be that last, but it is a very well known example of the gun control laws that exist in the United States. Or, for that case, a lack thereof. It has become a trend in America, to turn on the news to find it has been yet another day with countless bloodshed for no reason at all, innumerable hours of media coverage for these horrific events, and dozens of lives lost often in only a matter of minutes.
On December 14, 2012, it happened again at Sandy Hook Elementary School. 20 children and a mix of 6 adults, school staff, and faculty were murdered. And again, in April of 2007, A gunman opened fire on the campus of Virginia Tech, killing 32 people before killing himself. The pattern continues for years, with countless mass shootings happening within the United States, particularly in the states where gun control is limited. In the past year, a gunman shot and killed at least 49 people and injured more than 50 inside of a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. This would be widely regarded as one of the deadliest shootings in American history.
These are just a few of the well known instances, the events that can be recognized by simply saying, “Columbine,” or “Orlando,” But what can be said about America from these killings? When, and why, did these killings become so common? And why aren’t the people in charge doing more to stop it?
Gun safety is a highly debated topic within American politics and is often a difficult discussion point. Conservatives and liberals have asserted varying beliefs on the concern. However, there are many developed nations that rely very little, or not at all, on guns and have taken various measures to reduce gun violence among their communities. Japan, Ireland, Australia, and Germany are all countries that have one thing in common: they have all employed strict firearm regulations that have in many cases reduced the number of private gun ownership and, as a result, firearm related injury and death.
America must follow these examples if it wishes to halt the number of innocent citizens dying at the hands of people who can walk into a shop and purchase a gun with nothing more than a picture ID. Call your state representatives, demand they continue to fight for gun control, and encourage your friends and family to stand up as well. So long as people keep trying, there will be a day where gun violence won’t be an issue nearly as big as it is now, and a day when you won’t have to worry about your safety when walking into a park or your local market.