Gun Violence in America


By: Sathiyan Sivakumaran

The sadness felt by the victims’ families of tragedies like the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon cannot be fathomed by many of the others in the nation, but we do witness it. We think of how painful it must be, but we can’t actually feel that pain. Unfortunately, we then see arguing among the people and presidential candidates on what can be done to decrease the number of mass shootings in America, but there is no respect for each other’s opinions which also leads to the lack of results we’ve seen in changing laws to reduce gun violence. As time passes, people forget about how often these events are occurring and conversation moves on to the more recent occurrences until another tragic shooting happens. This is the time to remember the victims and explore what can be done to decrease the number of these mass shootings.

President Obama, while talking to the press after the shooting in Oregon, voiced his frustration with the lack of policy change in response to the mass shootings of his tenure as President. In response, candidate Mike Huckabee accused President Obama of politicizing the shooting, using it to segue into a gun regulation conversation. I disagree. I believe this was true frustration and disappointment at the continued lack of action in response to these tragic events. However, in general, there is a certain lack of empathy by people in the nation arguing about gun control and regulation. The lack of empathy is displayed when people begin to brashly claim negatives about others’ suggestions at solutions. By spouting opinions against potential solutions without any facts backing the argument, we circle back to a lack of solutions.

After multiple people were killed in the Oregon community college, the arguments began about gun control and regulation. One side argues that if more people were allowed to be armed, the “bad guys” would harm fewer people in their shootings, because there would be “good guys” to shoot if necessary. On the other hand, increased gun regulations are proposed to limit the kinds of guns distributed, as well as more intensive background checks and mental screenings for those wanting to purchase the guns. We see that the United States has more gun-related deaths per capita than many developed European countries, but the setting is different, with many different laws regarding gun regulation as well as healthcare and other areas. The problem is comparisons are disregarded when exceptions are found, so the arguments become much more about disproving the other. We won’t find a perfect solution, so we need to make changes and learn from them. The stagnation after tragic events like the shooting in Oregon has caused frustration among us all, and I think it’s about time to learn from other countries and studies to reach a solution, even if imperfect.

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