In 2019, a white supremacist took the lives of 51 Muslim worshipers with a semi-automatic rifle in New Zealand. The country enacted stricter gun laws one year later.
After 21 major mass shootings in the U.S. over the past ten years, hundreds of innocent people killed, and many more injured, the U.S. has made no progress in implementing effective gun control.
Extreme gun violence has long been an issue that has tainted the United States. News of shootings in schools, malls, grocery stores, concerts and more have become the status quo. Lockdown drills have been ingrained in student curriculum and fears have only been justified.
Shootings are recurring atrocities in America. Other countries have drastically lower numbers of shootings compared to the U.S. because they react to these tragic events with tangible legislation.
A mass shooting is defined as an incident of gun violence involving multiple fatalities. According to a Washington Post continuous data project, there have been 184 mass shootings since 1966. These tragedies have claimed the lives of 1,294.
In the first four months of 2021, there have been 4,895 gun-related deaths, 27 of which have been attributed to mass shootings.
On Feb. 14, 2018, 17 students and teachers were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, in Parkland, Florida. The tragedy sparked an international movement for gun reform in the U.S. which was spearheaded by student survivors. The movement was titled Match For Our Lives, their mission: Not One More.
Since the movement’s inception, it is estimated that over 2,641 children under the age of 18 have been killed due to intentional gun violence.
School shootings are of the most common mass shootings in the U.S.—they have become so normalized that schools have widely familiar safety procedures in place in the event of a shooting that are drilled into students’ and teachers’ heads instinctually.
Public schools across the U.S. have police at the door, who make kids walk through metal detectors each morning. Kids from a young age are taught what to do if a gunman enters the school building and how to hide properly in the event of a lockdown.
Our country chooses to teach kids to be scared for their lives each day in one of the places they are supposed to feel safest.
America prides itself on the value of patriotism and the right to bear arms as written in the Second Amendment. But how patriotic is unjust death without change? How can one be proud of a country that turns a bild eye to blatant safety hazards.
A pair of bills were recently passed in the House of Representatives on March 11, 2021, aimed to expand and strengthen background checks for gun buyers. The bill to approve the expansion of background checks was passed in a 227 to 203 vote, and the bill to give federal law enforcement more time to vet gun buyers, a 219 to 210 vote.
Influential republicans have long resisted imposing any limitations on guns—whether they be what kind of guns one can buy or the extent to which a background check should be required. The bills are expected to encounter intense opposition once they reach the 50-50 split Senate.
The way the media has framed mass shootings in the U.S. has also presented many issues in public opinion toward these tragedies.
Oftentimes when a shooter is white, the media holds an investigation into the background of the shooter and often looks for past traumas, or mental health issues, to write about as a justification for their actions.
These mass shootings are symptoms of much greater, more deeply ingrained, issues within America’s laws and culture, and the media needs to do a better job of highlighting those issues in their coverage, rather than just the shootings themselves.
It’s time we implore political figures to take action. It is time we stop seeing breaking news headlines alerting of senseless deaths on American soil. It is time we take action and ensure that not one more individual dies at the hands of a shooter.