To end mass shootings, America’s gun culture must end

Awaking to horrific acts of violence seems to have become unfortunately routine. Infamous shootings have become all too regular, with those such as the devasting event at Columbine, the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook and now a shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

According to current reports, there have been 13 deaths, including the suspect, and several injuries. Even with one of the suspects, Aaron Alexis, caught, closure for the victims’ families and the country as a whole is far away.

What is to be said of all this violence? What can we learn?

Time after time we come together as a nation to heal and mourn, but no real change takes place.

It’s guns, and how to control their awful side effects, that have been at the forefront following these incidents.

In fact, these mass shootings funnel money back towards gun makers. After the Sandy Hook shooting, gun sales in December doubled to $2.8 million. Before that, the biggest spike came after President Obama’s re-election.

Do you want fewer innocent people dying? Then limit mass shootings. How do you limit the amount of mass shootings? Now there is the question everyone and his shotgun-toting grandmother are trying to answer.

Limiting guns is tricky. People are very hesitant to give up what has been ingrained into their mind as a necessity of American culture. I used to think that background checks and limiting assault rifles would be enough, but now I know it isn’t. Well, we could arm every public official — teachers, congressmen, DMV clerks — creating a society of fear where no one moves on the presumption of being shot. Or, we could just limit those pesky guns in the first place.

I believe the right to bear arms is a right that has no place in modern American culture.

After Columbine, this sort of thing should never have become a regular occurrence. After Sandy Hook, gun proponents claimed that school faculty and teachers were not properly defended.

Now, after the most elite navy in the world is attacked in its own backyard, what are people saying? Personally, I can’t wait to see how the National Rifle Association spins this one.

First of all, background checks are not always effective, and just limiting assault rifles does not keep someone from obtaining another type of weapon. I believe that there is only one course of action we can take that will allow us to live in a society that is not riddled with mass shootings and other acts of horrible violence: change our culture.

There needs to be a continental shift in our way of thinking. Although it might be too late for our parents’ generation, there is hope for our generation and our children’s generation to make the necessary steps toward removing guns from our culture.

Our generation has grown up among some of the most violent domestic events in our nation’s history. Sept. 11, the Boston Marathon bombing and numerous mass shootings have scarred our ideas of security and safety. Hopefully, this will instill a desire for peace that will translate into a new generation of lawmakers and citizens that understand that guns no longer have a place in American culture.

Where does this entire pro-gun sentiment stem from anyway?

Well, the gun industry has some of the best and most ruthless lobbyists. Lobbying organizations like the NRA keep a strong base of around 3.1 million members. That’s a lot of guns.

Even the argument that guns in the home will help defend you against unwanted intruders is ludicrous. For example, Sheila, a typical American citizen, lives in a suburban town with relatively little crime.

However, she is horrified by all the shootings that have been taking place, so she buys a gun to respond to what she believes is an uptick in crime, but is really most likely embellishment by the media. Because there is relatively no crime in her neighborhood, she doesn’t have to use the gun for numerous years. Finally, let’s say nine years later, an intruder shows up to her door. Are we really supposed to believe that she has been keeping up with proper gun maintenance, and has been going to the gun range to practice accuracy and precision shooting? Once again, doubtful. She will probably be unprepared, nervous and a danger to herself with a gun that she barely knows how to shoot.

Sheila’s gun won’t help her anyway. Sheila does not need her gun, and we do not need ours.

Max is a freshman in DGS. He can be reached at [email protected]