The truth about gun violence in america
By Shakilur Rahman, '16
Sandy Hook, 27 dead, Umpqua 10 dead, Marysville Pilchuck, 5 dead.
These are all schools that have experienced devastating travesties. However, these type of events of mass murder do not just only occur in schools. They have appeared in harmless places like movie theaters and churches as well. Given the sudden increase in shootouts like this happening all the time, the government has taken the effort to enforce harsher gun laws and restrictions. What is it going to take for deadly shootings such as these to be prevented or is there something far more deep inside the surface that we haven’t yet uncovered?
So far in 2015 school shootings alone, there have been 30 dead and 53 injured. What is creating this sudden exposure to gun violence? Is it the guns themselves, bad parenting, or something entirely different? Movie theatres such as Jamaica Multiplex have even taken the effort to make the security guards check the bags of every customer to ensure they are not concealing any weapons. This is most likely due to happen after a deranged James Holmes came into a movie theater in Colorado 2012, murdering 12 victims while believing himself to be a fictional character, the Joker. However, since there are so many different factors to why criminals commit these atrocious acts, it’s a little difficult to pinpoint what any one specific causation is or if there even is one in the first place.
One of the prime causes people often point to is that criminals are mentally unstable. Yet, in a The New Republic article, Malcolm Gladwell points out that “young men no longer need to be deeply disturbed to contemplate horrific acts.” The article further reported that less than 5% of the shooters between the period of 2001-2010 were even identified as mentally challenged. This poses an even a deeper problem -- are children getting proper attention and care from their parents, and are they getting tested to see if they have proper mental health? Research published by Annals of Family Medicine, stated that out of 300,000 Minnesota teens, a third of them didn’t even go for a simple routine check-up. Less than half of them have gone for preventative care to the doctors within four years. That’s pretty much the entire high school portion of their lives, going completely unchecked for their health, mental or physical.
Can stricter gun laws help? Currently guns laws have gotten a whole lot more restrictive. New York State has moderately strict gun laws, but NYC’s five boroughs are more tougher to control. Recently according to an article written by NY Post, a student at Loughlin Memorial High School made a threat on Facebook, stating “Don’t go to Bishop Loughlin Memorial today because it’s going to get shot up.” While the article does not specify what punishment the student will receive, it is evident that guns can cause a lot of fear and anxiety among people. The problem now is that not only guns endanger people’s lives even if people aren’t able to get their hands on any guns. In retrospect, we might be crippling a lot of mentally healthy and innocent civilians who can’t obtain protection legally, to gang members who are able to obtain guns and weapons through illegal methods.
It is evident that no matter how much control the government wishes to maintain over civilians, people will always die and get hurt. The solution long term is to make sure people are getting their routine physical and mental check-ups. Parents in general are leaving kids with open guns laying around, so parents should be given extra classes to learn the importance of keeping guns away from kids. In the end however, the old aphorism is true -- guns/weapons don’t kill people, people kill people.
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