Imagine we knew the remedy for all cancers. Would we debate and take sides on this? No, we would take the remedy. We would invest in solutions.
Imagine if we treated gun violence like we do cancer. Both are sicknesses, and both are killing people at a horrific rate. Yet with gun violence, we tolerate sides and accept that no solution is the best solution we can achieve.
The shocking reality is that we know the remedy to gun violence, yet America chooses to stay sick.
Waking up this morning, I can’t seem to shake the gun related violence in Ohio and in Texas. I feel violated, angry and … so many feelings that I don’t have words for. I needed to take some action so I decided to write a post on facebook. When that was becoming a short essay, I turned to my blog. I am tired of writing gun related posts, but I will continue until things change. Thank you for being here with me.
Below, I aimed to write a fact based piece to illustrate what has and is happening regarding gun violence, how we all are playing a part in contributing to this sickness.
Let’s talk politics first: It’s not just a Politician’s responsibility to fix this issue, yet they do set laws and play a sizable role with what is accepted and encouraged. Another key element to note is that the problem is not all Politicians. There are many trying to put in sensible gun laws, yet are continuing to be blocked and villainized.
Let’s look at recent US history. Common sense gun laws would have been passed if they weren’t blocked by the high majority of elected Republicans (fact). Your House, Senate, and State reps matter just as much (or more) as who the president is (fact). My Senator Pat Toomey who boasts about his pro sensible gun laws stance has voted 4 out of 5 times against basic laws and bills. The current elected Republicans continue to block and vote down any gun policies that a high percentage of American citizens support (fact).
Today, is your representative sending out Thoughts and Prayers, or are they calling for reform and injustice? I highly encourage you to
call vote out anyone who is sending out Thoughts and Prayers. Change isn’t as impossible as we are told. Look at how immediately other countries have dealt with gun violence and the incredible outcomes of those changes. Change is a choice.
Gun control should never be a party stance, yet currently it is. This post isn’t to open up the histories of each and every politician, party, and action, nor to create a party debate. It’s about understanding what’s happening today in 2019.
For those out there who are One Issue Voters, please be One Issue Voters for gun control. If you vote for someone who is against gun control, you are supporting these reckless violence acts, and is contributing to the deaths and injuries caused by guns every day. It’s important that we sit with this and figure out a new path. There is no explaining out of this, or excusing one side by saying all politicians are bad. You are voting against gun reform by voting for these people.
Here are some of the recent gun related bills that have been put forward:
a) Feinstein Amendment (2016). This measure would have barred people on terrorist watch lists from buying firearms. In the Senate, 41 Democrats and 1 (!) Republican voted in favor of this, vs 3 Democrats and 53 Republicans voted against this. This do not become law.
b)Mental Health (2017, House and Senate): This bill undid a regulation that added some people with mental illnesses to the FBI’s background check database. In the House, 229 Republicans (and 6 Democrats) voted to support this, compared with 6 Republicans and 178 Democrats who were against. In the Senate, 52 Republicans and 4 Democrats supported this, with 0 Republicans and 42 Democrats voting against. This was enacted into law.
c) Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act (2017). This would require all U.S. states to recognize concealed carry permits granted by other states. It would also allow the concealed transport of handguns across state lines, and would amend the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 to allow permit holders to carry a concealed weapon in school zones in any state. This was passed 231 to 198 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concealed_Carry_Reciprocity_Act_of_2017).
How we receive the news is different today. It’s immediate and sensationalized. Major news sources (like CNN, Fox) are floundering to report unbiased fact based news because we don’t watch it otherwise. We can stop watching these talk shows, and invest in a news source (like NPR).
We still don’t hear about every gun based murder that happens. I don’t know if we could handle it, yet maybe this is the shock we need to wake more up. Our dialogues are too busy focusing on blaming the rest of the world and defending why America is great.
America has had 251 mass shootings (four or more people shot or killed, not including the shooter) in 216 days this year. THIS YEAR.
Take these grounding reported fact based stats (and these numbers are believed to be underreported):
– Average Gun Deaths by Intent- 36,383
– Average Gun Injuries by Intent- 100,120
Every single day 100 Americans are killed by guns. Guns are being used by Americans to kill Americans every single day. These numbers far outweigh any American deaths by terrorist groups or organizations. Why won’t a president, and elected politicians, acknowledge this? And why do we everyday American citizens and residents continue to let this happen? Why are we so afraid to change? I bet if a president did acknowledge this and follow it with action, this country would go through a rough patch of changing perspectives and the push back of letting go of how things were, yet would come out as a world leader and as a positive change agent for all.
The major player in this resistance to change is the everyday American who defends the concept of gun rights. Please remember, this amendment was put into law in 1791 when muskets were around, when the US accepted the idea of slaves, and when women were seen solely as property. Having a right to bear arms is dated and dangerous. Amendments can be amended. Every day I learn that something I was taught is fundamentally wrong, or incorrect. I choose to change or to stay the same. I try to change. Just because you’ve always had a gun does not mean that’s the way it needs to be. How can we acknowledge our histories, and move to a better today?
If America actually wants to change what’s happening, it can. Change in action takes change in thought. People may have to forfeit something. America’s most celebrated histories are when people gave up something for the betterment of the people. It’s our time.
A few things we can all do today:
– Stop watching Fox and CNN. Invest in unbiased news sources.
– Check out these links. Please educate yourself, your families and your neighbors.
b) This is a 2018 NPR article (a known non-party based public objective news source) about how elected officials have voted on Gun Bills. Every American should be required to read this article:
– If you think Politicians are the problem: take action by calling, writing, or visiting. If they don’t change, vote for someone else. Highlight those who are fighting against gun violence and stop circulating noise from those who don’t. Take away their power by refusing to give them power.
– Stop buying guns yourself. Teach your kids a different way of life. The argument that good people can carry guns isn’t good enough anymore. I’m fine with you having a musket. I’m not okay with you having a handgun. With every purchase of a gun and related products, you are increasing the profits and the demand of the gun market, therefore making it that much more readily available for those wanting to cause harm.
– Jump on a sensible gun laws bandwagon and stay on it until change happens. If the masses can get Sonic the Hedgehog redesigned, and if local everyday people can get the Puerto Rican governor to resign, we can get gun laws changed. It wasn’t that long ago that drinking and driving was tolerated. Yet attitudes and laws changed unanimously. Yes, people still drink and drink, but there is immediate consequence, and it happens far less. I will settle for far less gun violence.
Whatever voice you have, be it your buying power, your influence, your voting rights, your day to day experience, use it. This isn’t just about our kids and grandkids. It’s about everyone. It’s about today, not tomorrow. We need to start somewhere. If we can invest billions in cancer research, raise awareness, and change our habits, we can choose to stop gun violence.