Op-Ed for Portfolio-Cynicalwordsmith

A Choice Has To Be Made: The Guns Or The People

The second amendment may be a right to all Americans—but what if it’s just infringing on the right of fellow citizens to feel safe by enabling people to purchase weapons of war and violence, all while using a broken system? Gun control is an expense America cannot afford to skimp on with the ever-growing epidemic of mass shootings and overall gun violence. This has become more of an eerie reality for society today, as it seems more and more common to hear about a mass shooting on the news, such as the recent school shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California. It was November 14th, 2019, that two young lives were both lost and three more were injured at the hands of a sixteen-year-old-gunman wielding a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol in the school’s quad.

It is imperative to note the number of mass shootings in America has exponentially increased. As of November 17th, there have been 369 mass shootings in 2019. This means that there have been more mass shootings in America than days in the year, which is disturbing and concerning. There should be work being done to reduce these troubling statistics, however, the country is caught throwing words at each other about who is right or wrong, when the fact is, we are facing an epidemic. What is more appalling however, is just how little states require in the area of being able to purchase a fire-arm. When the ease of purchasing firearms is discussed, it only takes minutes to acquire such an object. In thirty-six states, the rules and regulations are more lenient. When it comes to purchasing a weapon that has the potential to kill or harm another human being, we as a society have to do better. There is too much at stake for loopholes and ways to get around the law to exist.

Those who oppose gun control like to argue that places with strict gun laws have the worst gun violence. However, places like California, who enforce some of the strictest gun laws in America, cannot thwart the mishaps caused by the downfalls of other state’s laws, who are known for being more lenient. One gunman in July of 2019 legally obtained a semi-automatic assault rife, bringing it across state lines to Gilroy, California and opened fire at a local festival. In order for stricter gun-laws to prosper, the process must improve, but most importantly, it must improve in every part of the country. Nevada, however is not the only state where it is deemed simple to purchase a weapon. In states such as Idaho, Florida, Colorado, and thirty-three more, a person legally does not need a license, permit, or registration to buy a firearm. In Kansas, one doesn’t need any of these items to buy or carry a firearm.

Basically, if one has no criminal record, they can obtain a firearm with ease. Private sellers taking up shop to fatten their checks with the amount of money made from easy purchases does not help the situation anymore. Laws were passed stating private sellers had to conduct background checks on customers, however they are rarely enforced. The United States manufactures more than 10 million firearms a year, but with private sellers, only about a few million actually are being registered. Objects that have the power to end someone’s life, should not be let lose in the world, with millions of them not being able to be traced.

It is a common argument that the amount of media coverage mass shootings and gun violence attracts only encourages violent behavior and more shootings and that shootings are actually very rare. A study done corroborates the first half of this claim: there does seem to be a contagion growth from the media coverage of mass shootings, however, this is due to the way it is covered. It would be more beneficial to instead of focusing the attention on the perpetrators, to put the spot light on the bravery of those affected. To show that despite the atrocity survivors were forced to endure, individuals are becoming communities, coming together and uniting, surviving by inspiring love in a time when it can become easy to be angry. The world needs to see that part of the story. To the second part of that claim, the length between mass casualty shootings is shortening, with 369 occurring this year, two of them within twenty-four hours of each other. These events are becoming more frequent, with 9,932 gun deaths as of September first.

With the firearm-homicide rate twenty-five times higher than other leading nations, it should be clear that gun control is the only remedy, and that we as a country can do so much better. There are simply too many variables to consider when deciding if a person is fit to own a firearm; too many ways to get around the rules which are unstable, rules that need fixing, adjusting, revising. Stricter gun laws would save lives all over the country. People should not be afraid to leave their homes, children should not have to worry where to hide if someone walks into their class with an assault rifle, and this epidemic should not be seen as normal. It should not be expected. We can do better. There is a choice to be made: protecting the guns, or protecting the lives of not only citizens now, but future generations to come.

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4 Responses to Op-Ed for Portfolio-Cynicalwordsmith

  1. davidbdale says:

    Here we go.

    The second amendment is a right granted to all Americans, but it infringes on the right of fellow citizens to feel safe by enabling people to purchase weapons of war and violence without safeguards. Gun violence is an assault that America cannot afford. The ever-growing epidemic of mass shootings and overall gun violence demand our attention. We occupy an eerie reality in which mass shootings are commonplace, like the slaughter at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California on November 14th, when two young lives were lost and three more children were injured by a sixteen-year-old wielding a .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol in the quad.

    Mass shootings in America have exponentially increased. By November 17th of this year, there had been 369 mass shootings, more than one a day. Instead of working to reduce these damning statistics, however, we throw accusations at each other in the face of an epidemic. States make it so easy to purchase a firearm that in 36 states it can be done in minutes. We need to do better. There is too much at stake.

    Gun advocates argue that places with strict gun laws have the worst gun violence. But California, with some of the strictest gun laws in America, cannot help but neighbor more lenient states. One gunman in July legally obtained a semi-automatic assault rifle in Nevada, brought it across state lines to Gilroy, California, and opened fire at a local festival. For stricter gun laws to function, they must improve nationally. In Kansas, a person can buy a firearm without a license, permit, or registration! And in 36 other states, at least one of those documents is unnecessary. There, anyone with no criminal record can obtain a firearm with ease.

    Private sellers are even less scrupulous than legitimate dealers. Laws requiring them to conduct background checks on customers are rarely enforced. Of the 10 million firearms manufactured in the United States every year, only a few million are registered. Deadly weapons should not be loose in the world, untraceable.

    Gun advocates say shootings are actually rare and that media coverage encourages more shootings than it prevents. One study corroborates that media coverage creates contagion; however, that could be stopped by spotlighting the bravery of the victims instead of the actions of the perpetrators. Despite the atrocity they endure, survivors are forming communities, inspiring love at a time when it could be so easy to surrender to anger. The world needs to see that part of the story. With almost 10,000 gun deaths by September 01, the time between mass casualty shootings is shortening, often to less than 24 hours.

    The US firearm-homicide rate is 25 times higher than other leading nations. Clearly, gun control is the only remedy. We can do better. Too many unfit people can buy weapons legally. Too many regulations are equivocal, or vague, or unenforced. Rules need fixing, adjusting, revising. A national set of gun laws would save lives all over the country. People have a right to leave their homes without fear, schoolkids should not be planning where to hide if someone walks into their class with an assault rifle, and this epidemic should not be seen as normal. It is not acceptable. We can do better. We have a choice: protect the guns, or protect the lives of citizens now and in the future.

    What do you think, Wordsmith? It’s still you, right? Does this help you find joints that need caulk? or seams that need mending? I hope you find it useful.

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  2. Hi professor! I’m wondering if my points are connecting properly, I feel as though I am still struggling with making my ideas flow fluidly and my transitions from point to point are a little all over the place. Also, if you notice anything else that needs improvement do not hesitate to let me know if you have any time.

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    • davidbdale says:

      Well, you’re right, Wordsmith; your ideas do tumble over rocks of your own placing, and they do meander. I wonder if you’d like to engage in an experiment in which I rephrase your work by removing all the extraneous language and adornments that obscure your meanings. Once we simplify your language, I think you’ll find it’s much easier to transition from each clearly expressed idea to the next.

      Do I have your permission to do that?

      Like

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