El Paso Shooting and Gun Violence in the US
I am a supporter of those who own guns and are responsible with them.
I am not, nor will I ever be, a person who supports violence such as what happened in El Paso, Texas, on August 3, 2019, or in Dayton, Ohio, August 4, 2019.
While details continue to emerge about the horrifying events that unfolded in Texas and Ohio in less than a 24-hour time frame, the questions again are rising: why isn't the United States doing something about what appears to be a gun control issue?
Do Guns Keep Us Safe?
There are those that will live by the idea that "guns don't kill people; people kill people," and that's not entirely untrue. No matter what we say or do in this world, there will continue to be people who are, as I call them, not wired right. There will be those who for whatever reason believe that violence is truly the only way to get their message across or whatever you want to call it, and they will find whatever means at their disposal to make that happen.
However, the fact remains that guns are very easily accessible. It would be too easy to say that this is an issue exclusive to the United States, but that may not be the case. Really, if people want to access guns, or drugs, or whatever illicit item they want, they're going to find a way of doing so regardless of the country they live in. That doesn't mean, though, that there is not a pre-existing issue with gun legislation in the United States.
Thoughts and Prayers Are Not Enough
I'm not going to shock anyone by saying that the gun rights lobby is one of the most significant in the United States, and there's a lot of support offered to legislators who support the NRA. That's fact, and that's something that's been well known for years. However, once again we're about to be hit with a litany of "thoughts and prayers" for those who were injured and killed in El Paso and Dayton instead of seeing tangible action to try and stop the mass shootings that are occurring on a frighteningly regular basis in America.
Thoughts and prayers do squat. Don't get me wrong; it's nice to hear that people are thinking of you in times of crisis, but nice thoughts don't bring the dead back. Nice thoughts don't keep our families safe.
The problem is that arming everyone so that this sort of thing does not happen again—the idea being that if you're armed, you can defend yourself—doesn't fix the problem either. We are wired to either fight, flee or freeze in a crisis. There is no guarantee that a gun in my hand will be any safer than a gun in yours in order to defend ourselves from a mass shooter. While I am a fair shot—I do enjoy target shooting at a controlled gun range, and shooting at tin cans is still fun—I don't know that I would be any safer than if I was unarmed if I was in an active shooter situation. I don't know that would be the case if anyone else was, either, unless they had the specific training in order to be so.
Legislators in the United States need to collectively push to say "enough" and actually enact laws where this sort of thing won't happen in the insane frequency it is in the United States. It doesn't matter if it's a school shooting like we saw at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas or the bloodshed like we saw at Walmart in El Paso on August 3, 2019. People should not be targeted and killed as they head about their daily lives. We shouldn't have to think about how to keep ourselves from getting shot when we're pricing out our groceries, or whether or not our kids will be truly safe when we're sending them out the door to school.
It's time we identify these shooters and these mass shooting incidents for what they are: incidents of domestic terrorism. We need to be able to recognize these terrorist incidents for what they are and shut them down. I don't know how—I don't have those answers, not by a long shot—but I'm tired of hearing about how innocents once more lost their lives and how people offer up "thoughts and prayers" as though that's going to make a difference.
Politicians, do your job. Put laws in place that make sense so that there won't be any more of these tragedies, and do it without penalizing the gun owners that are following the laws.