When will it end?

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When will it end?

It’s happened again. I want to say I’m dismayed and horrified, but that would imply shock. The shock value- the sense of unnerved alarm – has long since been killed alongside the hundreds of victims of gun violence. Instead, I am exhausted. I am drained. I am bitter. Bitter that this keeps happening. Bitter that no one seems to be doing anything about it. Bitter that my words are so hopelessly futile.

Twenty-six more deaths to add to the teeming, unending list of fatalities. Is 26 the magic number? Is 26 the number that will tip the scale and finally jolt our legislators awake?

We boast of our apparent superiority. We react with furious indignation at the slightest bit of alleged “disrespect” to our country. And perhaps we are justified in some ways. But there’s no denying the issue that’s been glaring us right into our blind eyes for decades.

Around 346 this year. 432 in 2016. 369 in 2015. That’s how many lives we have allowed guns to snatch in only the last few years. Mass shootings alone (defined currently by the federal government as an incident involving at least three deaths in a public place) have killed 112 in 2017, making 2017 the deadliest year for mass shootings in all recorded U.S. history. The plague of gun violence is proliferating like wildfire, and no one is safe. In fact, at any given moment, an American is more likely to be murdered by another armed American than by a jihadist terrorist.

The dire state of this issue is clear. Just look at our fellow developed countries. No one even begins to compare. Britain, for example, endures 50-60 gun deaths per year– meaning it is about 40 times more likely that you will be killed by a gun-wielding aggressor in the U.S. than in Britain.

But, no. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. Of course– there’s our answer. I suppose we must throw up our hands and give up on every other rampant issue. People will be people, right? What to do?

The frankly weak argument of “people kill people” is such a “well, it won’t happen to me” mentality and argument to adhere to. How heartless must we be to stand by and continue to allow this happen? How can we allow rifles and automatic weapons to be so readily available to anyone who decides that such a powerful weapon of destruction is a possession they must own? We’ll bar people on the terrorist watch-list from boarding a plane, but if they want to purchase an automatic rifle? That’s perfectly legal. What’s the harm?

A tweet from the Governor of Texas in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

So I don’t want to see the shock and dismay from our legislators and leaders. Don’t bat your eyes in solemn dejection when yet another senseless act of violence plays out before us like a tragic movie that never seems to stop rolling the same nightmare over and over and over. When our leaders try to stand up and put an end to this madness, they are met with indignant outrage, legislative blocks, and the NRA charging forward with stone cold insistence. In response to the Vegas shooting, the NRA chief executive said, “Nobody should be forced to face evil with empty hands.” Ah, yes. Let’s put more dangerous weaponry into the hands of common people. Fight fire with fire, of course– lethal weapons with lethal weapons. There’s our solution.

And the cries of fellow Americans passionately defending guns and pushing for fewer regulations are so disheartening to hear. “How dare anyone try to touch our beloved guns”; never mind there are hundreds of Americans being killed every year. “Don’t touch our guns! Don’t touch our Second Amendment!” Yes, because the Constitution gave us the right to have guns. This amendment was written when there was no national army; it was written to support state militias– but to heck with evolving with the times and facing historical facts. We need guns. This is America, where we welcome people from all walks of life, offer freedom to all who promise to work hard, and allow any and everyone to access weapons– like the semi-automatic, military-style Ruger AR-556, responsible for slaughtering a pregnant woman, a five-year-old, and 24 others.

What unnecessary bloodshed! God forbid more lives are seized from our grasps. Worst of all, God forbid we try to do something about it.

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