The news site of West Ranch High School in Stevenson Ranch, CA

Together, Under Guns, With Liberty and Justice for None

October 9, 2017

San Bernardino. Charleston. Sandy Hook. Orlando.

Twenty years ago, these names were just places. A California city. The South Carolina capital. An elementary school. Disney World.

Four drastically different places separated by people, history, and geography that share one grotesque commonality.

And now, Las Vegas.

Neon lights. Casinos. Gambling.

Massacre.

Another place that will forever remind us of the destruction a maniac with a gun can cause. It’s simple Gestalt psychology. You hear one word and your brain fills in the next word for you:

The San Bernardino shooting. The Charleston Church shooting. The Sandy Hook shooting. The Orlando Pulse shooting. The Las Vegas concert shooting. Cities just waiting to have the awful suffix tacked onto the end of their name.

Who still has faith that the government will make the change that needs to happen?

I wrote an article sophomore year about the necessity of gun control. It was somewhat level headed, somewhat hopeful. This article won’t be. No, not today, because today I am furious. I am appalled, I am frustrated. Today, I feel the terror of the nation behind me. Do you feel it too? Knowing that the next shooting place might be where you happen to be that night? Where your family is? Where your friends are?

For some West Ranch students, that is exactly what happened with Las Vegas. Students knew friends and family who were at the venue, who saw others go down, or who were shot themselves. Shootings, even if they happen across the country, always hit close to home.

A mass shooting is the one virus that we have the vaccine for, but why are people still so opposed to gun control?

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Okay, yes. Guns just make it a hell of a lot easier. When a single person knifes sixty people to death, then we can talk. Until then, this argument is ridiculous and irrelevant.

According to The Chicago Tribune, in Australia, when the government confiscated 650,000 guns, murder and suicide rates plummeted. There isn’t a better way to describe this information than well… duh. Of course taking away instruments that are literally made to kill will drop death rates.

Gun control works. It is a statistical, logical fact. But for some, that doesn’t seem to be enough.

“If good guys have guns, then it cancels out the bad guys with the guns!”

This is more or less what our esteemed president said in the Golden Ages when he wasn’t president. I am reminded of a political cartoon, where there are two men, each carrying a gun. One man is a farmer, and the other is a robber dressed in black and white stripes– you know, typical bad guy get up. In the side by side image, the farmer is no longer carrying a gun and Stripey is pointing two rifles at Farmer Man as he cowers in the corner. The point is that we need to protect ourselves from danger and the only way to do so is by owning an AK 47.

I would first like to point out for any young, naive souls reading this that “bad guys” don’t usually wear identifying gear that gently clues you in on their moral standing. How do you know who is going to use the gun for what, and can you even know? With our country refusing even the most basic of background checks, not a chance.

California currently has the strictest gun laws in the nation, requiring all gun purchases to be made through a licensed firearms dealer. They have been one of the few states to actually push through legislation after numerous massacres. But as long as guns are accessible in other states–as long as guns are accessible at all, really–the laws as they stand now as a nation are not strict enough.

“Guns protect.”

There is no proof showing the presence of more guns does anything to deter a shooter. Fighting fire with fire only makes the flames reach higher. There are more accounts of individuals pulling out guns in defense and shooting innocent bystanders than the actual offender himself.

Caleb Keeter, an artist who performed at the Las Vegas concert just before the shooting, posted on social media that the experience had made him rethink his staunch support of the Second Amendment. He writes, “We actually have members of our crew with CHL (Concealed Handgun License) licenses, and legal firearms on the bus. They were useless.”

While it is a positive thing that more people are realizing the  necessity of gun control, it is slightly disconcerting that it almost requires a gun barrel pointed at your face before you realize, “Yeah, probably should have done something about this.” Wake up. Mass shooting can happen anywhere, at anytime, to anyone. It is one of the few things that doesn’t discriminate.

“Criminals don’t care about laws, they’ll do it anyway.”

Glad that’s cleared up– While we’re at it, how about we legalize murder since making it illegal apparently doesn’t make a difference?

Morality is often enforced by extrinsic forces. It is a psychologically proven fact that people are less likely to commit acts that they will be punished for, so laws generally do their job. If we had a law saying that murder was all fine and dandy, then the murder rate would sky rocket. We just don’t have a strong enough law to put a final end to all these shootings, and coincidentally, these shootings continue.

“The Second Amendment-”

Stop. Remember that time where America decided to outlaw alcohol in the 18th Amendment, and, upon realizing that was a stupid idea, repealed it in the 21st Amendment? Seeing as 11,680 people have died just in 2017 as a result of guns, there might be a slightly compelling argument to at least modifying the Second Amendment.

The Constitution is the law of the land, and the law of the land should be reflect the times. As of now, it is horridly outdated.

The Constitution is the law of the land, and the law of the land should be reflect the times.”

If I cared about what the Founding Fathers thought, I could not imagine that a group of idealists would condone the murder of hundreds of thousands of people by the whim of a person with a gun. Do I care what Thomas Jefferson would think? Not really, because he is dead and would probably be very upset about the 19th Amendment, but I understand the rhetorical power of the “Founding Fathers.”

Truthfully, no one has a clue what the Founding Fathers would think of today’s society unless they pull out the Ouija board and contact the spirit of Alexander Hamilton. The Founding Fathers were human, not omniscient oracles who knew exactly what the right course for the country would be. It is useless to speculate what the Founding Fathers would think. What we can speculate about is right now.

Right now, people are dying.

Right now, victims and their families are mourning.

Right now, we need gun control.

But “right now” never seems to be a good time. Talking about gun control right after a shooting is “insensitive” and “pushing an agenda.” Is it not equally insensitive to justify these deaths for the sake of an American “freedom”? And if these “crazy left-wingers” are pushing agenda, so be it. I am pushing agenda. An agenda to stop mass murder.

Because isn’t the country tired of turning on the T.V. and seeing the words “mass shooting”? Isn’t the country tired of sending their kids to school to have their lock down drills?

Are we not tired of knowing that Every. Single. One. of those 59 something deaths on Sunday was preventable?

But, by all means, let people defend their right to bear arms. Defend it, even if it means the deaths of thousands of others. I fear in the end they will win this struggle because their side is the side that doesn’t require any change.

And God knows how our government feels about change.

Petition. Speak up. Vote. Enact policies like the ones they have all over the world: long processes that include tests like in Japan, minimize the amount of guns owned like in France, ban automatic weapons like in the United Kingdom. These countries are no less free than we are.

Let’s do what we can to force the change that needs to happen.

 

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