Massacre Breaks Silence

McKenna Zacher, Sports Editor

On October 2, 2017, I woke up to the dreadful wailing of my alarm, just as any other day. I turned off the alarm and started to scroll through the uncharacteristically abundant news alerts I received during the night.

At least 20 people are dead and more than 100 injured in a shooting on the Las Vegas Strip,” my CNN notification said.

“Country music festival targeted in attack,” another read.

A panic rushed over me as I suddenly remembered my cousin had posted about being in Las Vegas at a country music festival.

Thankfully, I came to find out she was okay and had flown home before the attack that night. But I could not shake the thought that someone I love had come that close to being a victim of this shooting.

In my lifetime, I have heard the phrase “deadliest mass shooting” a frightening amount of times. Each time, the country reacts in horror and shock, politicians spin the tragedy to fit a political agenda and the gun control debate rekindles.

For a few days, the news cycle is dominated by debate after debate on guns and their “right” to be in this country. And then, nothing. The horror and activism rescind and typical debates on healthcare or immigration resume.

The United States has become numb to mass shootings. A mass shooting is a daily occurrence in today’s America. The frequency of these tragedies has desensitized us to the sheer monstrosity they are. If it does not affect us personally, we do not do anything about it and that needs to change.

I was in sixth grade when the Sandy Hook mass shooting happened. I remember coming home from school that day and seeing my mom cry and hug my brother and me tight. I did not fully understand what had happened or why but I knew it was awful.

Five years later, it is appalling to me that we still have not cracked down on guns. Twenty children, no older than seven, were killed because of incompetence and nationalistic pride.

Many advocates for gun ownership point to the Second Amendment, which gives American citizens the right to bear arms. After thoroughly researching both sides of this issue for weeks, I truly believe the only way we can reduce gun violence in the country is by eliminating the sense of entitlement we have towards guns. To do that, I believe we must repeal the Second Amendment.

The part of the Second Amendment that specifies “the right to bear arms” is not the full amendment, which so many gun advocates fail to acknowledge.

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” the full amendment reads. In the 228 years since this was written into the Bill of Rights, our country has changed a lot. No longer does this amendment apply. With a superior professional military force, we are no longer counting on citizen militia to keep us safe.   

Guns have also evolved unmistakably since the time of the founding fathers. The general public has access to semi-automatic weapons, long-range scopes and bump stocks, which when attached to a semi-automatic rifle, allows for fire almost as rapid as that of an automatic weapon. These kinds of firearms were developed and intended to be used by trained soldiers in the theater of war, not for hunting or shooting targets in a backyard.  Our most sacred rights, those of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are undermined by our love of guns.  

Now, I am not saying we should take away all guns. But I am saying we need to strengthen our gun control laws and repeal our sense of entitlement towards guns and I am not alone in my opinion. Sixty-four percent of voters favor increased gun control, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.

With the proper training and upkeep of that training through annual re-certification, a person should be free to own a gun for recreational hunting or even self-protection. However, there should be limits on what types of weapons civilians can own and where they are allowed. If your gun kills another human being, through an accident or a crime — you must be held accountable.

Gun ownership should be a privilege, not a right. It is time for us to take gun ownership as seriously as we do the ability to drink alcohol or drive a car. Until we do that, we cannot say as a country that we value our children, our fellow citizens or even our own lives.