With the whole world watching the aftermath of the Parkland shooting unfold, it’s no surprise that the concept of “Second Amendment Rights” is up for debate once more, in what is seemingly a never-ending discussion that has provided very little to almost no substantial change in rules, reform and regulation regarding guns.
We saw this “discussion” (which quite frankly is now just white noise put in place to avoid any actual change) regarding gun reform spark after the country was shaken by the Columbine massacre, reigniting once more after the tragedy at Sandy Hook, and then once more during the Las Vegas Shooting and now during the events which left 17 students dead at a Parkland high school, and the many, many events in between these notable ones. What’s unfortunate is that the distance, the length of time in between each calamity seems to only decrease as the frequency of these attacks, and the number of lives it takes increases. This is the only indicator necessary to show that the “laws” in place set by our “leaders” who are supposed to work for the citizens of this country are no longer effective. But maybe that’s because our “leaders” are not working for the citizens of this country, perhaps it’s because they’re working for someone else, for the NRA. All of these politicians who seem to only offer “thoughts and prayers” are on the NRA’s payroll. Which leads many like me to wonder, what the hell does the NRA want? Why are they so blind to the clear facts? Why do they seem so unfazed by each tragedy? But most importantly, who exactly are these “Second Amendment Rights” the NRA is so hell-bent on implementing, for?
If you guessed everyone except minorities and people of color, then you hit the jackpot, because the NRA is inherently racist. The NRA believes that American citizens who can buy and purchase guns should be able to carry them, whether those weapons are concealed or not. But I believe when they made that statement, they were thinking of a carrier that was white, most likely a white male. I do not believe, to any degree, that the NRA or its members would have the same reaction, to a black man, legally, carrying a concealed weapon. Or a Hispanic man. God forbid a Muslim-American citizen decided to carry a gun in his pocket, roaming around in society with his legally obtained weapon. The black man would be called a thug, the Hispanic man a criminal of some sort and the Muslim man would be called a terrorist, despite them all being American citizens. Considering the fact, Philando Castile, a black man, was shot and killed by a police officer for having a legally obtained gun on him, with the NRA staying silent about Castile’s “second amendment rights” I think my hypothesis is plausible. The unfortunate truth is there will always be this bias, this double standard that a white man with a gun is just a dutiful citizen utilizing his rights and anyone else is simply a criminal with ill intentions. To answer the question, these “second amendment rights” which the NRA is willing to do anything for, even let the murder of children slide by, would only be applied to white people. It’s no secret that the NRA has a racial bias and in their world where it’s legal for everyone to carry legally obtained guns, people of color would never be treated the same way. This discussion about guns has not only brought to light the many things wrong with our regulations (or lack thereof) but also the fact that depending on WHO is owning or holding the gun, the perception and treatment of that crime or of that person will greatly vary. The Parkland shooting, to be specific, once again exemplified this racial bias as well, with the media treating the white perpetrator much more nicely than it has with other perpetrators and criminals.
When I first heard about the Parkland shooting, I thought it was unfathomable. I didn’t know what to say. I could not imagine children my age, potential peers of mine, dying, not like this. But this shooting was completely fathomable and so were the many, many acts of gun-related violence and massacres before this, because with the lack of regulation and gun control in this country, something like this is completely feasible. All it takes is someone with the intention to kill, accessibility clearly is not a problem. But yet, it’s the one thing that none of these leaders, namely Republican ones, want to work on. They have their reasons, but we shouldn’t give a damn about their reasons because we are quite literally paying the ultimate price, our lives. Their greed has a body count and I, like the many teenagers around this country, many of who I look up to, from Cameron Kasky to Emma Gonzalez, refuse to let politicians like Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz get their pockets filled from tragedies like this. Enough is enough. We are the future and the seats they hold today, will be ours tomorrow, just you wait. We refuse to be white noise buzzing in the background. This is a movement, and this time it will have results because unlike before, we will not censor ourselves or what we have to say to anyone, whether it be a local politician or the president himself. Change is coming and it’s been years in the making. We will never let the victims of gun violence die in vain.