Opinion: Gun Violence Shouldn’t Just Be Ignored

On the morning of October 1st, 2015, I was among thousands of college students around the country sitting on a campus, focusing on schoolwork. Yet, in an instant, my concentration was interrupted by the following Associated Press News Alert appearing on the screen of my phone: “BREAKING: Fire Officials report active shooter at community college in southwest Oregon City of Roseburg.”

I of course was saddened but not shocked at all because I cannot only count how many times my heart has got punched by exactly the same type of news stories.

I have not go the answer of when we can get real peace in a country that is actually not a ground of war, and neither has the President of the United States, who angrily and emotionally described having to deliver yet another speech on mass shootings as “routine.”

Speaking to the nation hours after the shooting, President Obama said “somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine…we’ve become numb to this.”

Some of us may often disagree with what the president says and does. But when it comes to listening to his statement, unless “stuff happens” is how you react to the losses of lives, as Republican presidential candidate Jed Bush did at a recent campaign event, I don’t know how you could disagree with President Obama.

Each time gun violence affects our fellow citizens, we hoped that we wouldn’t have to mourn again. But over and over again, we do.

As President Obama said, “thoughts and prayers are not enough.” As long as we don’t stop those who have the worst desire to stage the worst thing that could happen to us, there would be more memorials we have to see right outside our schools or workplaces.

If thoughts and prayers aren’t enough, as the President said in a tone that was frank and clear, “this is something we should politicize.”

The interests of the American people are supported and promoted by a government run by those who get elected and get appointed through our own political system. Every mandate and rule that shapes America is a result of said political system.

When the voices of the interest groups like the NRA are the only things politicians chose to listen to, when our politicians worry about losing elections over American citizens losing their lives, something needs to change. When merely posting a tweet to send condolences right after a shooting is the only thing those whose power is from We the People, something needs to change.

The U.S.’s problem is not that our politicians don’t know what they can do. I believe that they are all smart people. The problem is that they don’t have the initiative to do what the majority of the American people support them to do like expanding background checks and they decline to get the Americans call our country the Leader of the Free World—a free world where we are profoundly and truly free to live with pursuits and dreams. We are a country where I can write an opinion piece without being afraid of being silenced or locked up.

Sadly, as President Obama admitted in his statement, “we are the only advanced country on earth that sees these kinds of mass shooting every few months.” We can’t continue to be the Leader of the Free World if “life,” which is the first right guaranteed to us by the Declaration of Independence, becomes so cheap that we turn a blind eye to students being murdered on their own campuses. We can’t be the envy of the world if we continually see “[yet] another community stunned with grief, and communities across the country forced to relive their own anguish,” as the president mentioned. And politicians cannot call America the greatest nation on earth if the country fails to get deadly weapons out of the hands of those who wish to harm others.

I don’t oppose the Second Amendment. The only thing I oppose is how the following short sentence is misread, misunderstood, and misused: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Free people of a free nation rely on the tools and the conditions that safeguard and honor freedom. The survival of freedom is the reason there is a Second Amendment. Making sure We the People live in the land of Freedom with real peace and real support is what the Second Amendment expects. But as long as guns are allowed to be held by those who have sickness in minds, and as long as learning and working safely becomes more unrealistic, the Second Amendment keeps being violated.

There should be no compassion for gun violence. Compassion should only go to the people who simply want to live as long as possible and enjoy the gift of freedom.

ILLUSTRATION BY FELICIA CHANG

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