I Am So Tired of Gun Violence

This isn’t usually how I roll on this blog and, I apologize in advance if this post offends you or bores you but, there is something I’ve been thinking about lately – why has there been no gun legislation passed since Sandy Hook?

I live in close proximity to one of the most dangerous cities in the United States and, I am tired of hearing about the endless stream of gun violence that radiates from it. I am tired of going to the movies and being afraid that someone is going to take out a gun and shoot everyone. I am tired of going to the mall and seeing the remnants of a shooting too close to home.

The United States is supposed to be one of the world’s superpowers, among the best and brightest, yet, why can’t I turn on the news without hearing about someone else having been shot – white, black, young, old. No one is immune.

sandy hook

Over a year ago, twenty six people including twenty children were murdered at an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut by a gunman with automatic weapons. I remember crying while icing Christmas cookies that year as President Obama read the names of the twenty children, one of them having shared the same name as my elementary aged nephew.

This shooting was the same year that 12 people were killed in a theatre in Aurora, Colorado which was preceded by the six people who were murdered in Tuscan, Arizona in 2011, wounding then Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Every time this happens, Americans are promised change. Tougher laws. No automatic weapons. The fact that I live in a country that requires me to show my ID to buy cold medicine, but does not require mental health background checks to purchase a gun blows my mind.

And every time I hear about another shooting be it mass murder or another homicide in Baltimore, I want to scream. I am tired of being told that guns are the answer. I know that my country will never be gun free. That is just not in the cards for the United States. I know that mass shootings will never end. But, I am tired of hearing about Americans dying in gunfire.

This idea never really hit so close to home until on Saturday morning, January 25, 2014, two employees were murdered in Maryland at the Columbia mall by a gunman. This mall is a place that I have spent much of my college life and continue to visit to this day. Since the shooting, I have walked past the now boarded up store where the murder took place. I have seen the signatures of support and mourning written on the boards. I have memorized the names of the two young employees who were killed and, I have wondered, what if these had been my friends?

Maryand Mall Shooting

When I was in England, I was in shopping in Tesco one day and, there was a loud bang, silence, another loud bang like a gunshot, the sound of people gasping, and then complete and utter silence. Everything in the store had stopped. I put down my basket and moved to run to the back of the store. This was it, I remember thinking. Someone has a gun. Someone is trying to kill us. I was shocked when the rest of the people in the aisle moved towards the front of the store to investigate. Were they crazy?

They disappeared up towards the registers, their children in hand, and the overhead speaker announced that a large display had fallen over in the front of the store. But, as life moved around me again, I stared at my basket on the floor, and it hit me that the English weren’t the crazy ones, I was. These people had little concept of gun violence. People don’t shoot their politicians in grocery store parking lots. They don’t wonder if their children will come home from school. They don’t walk past boarded up shops in the mall with white remembrance lilies floating in the fountains.

I am so tired. I am tired of Americans being killed for no reason at all. I am tired of a government that can’t get their act together and do something about it. And mostly, I am just sorry. I am sorry for every person that is affected by gun violence – for every child that is raised to think that going through a metal detector to get school is normal, for every family that is scared to go into Baltimore, for every person who has ever lost a friend to a gun.

Do-Something_Sarah-Peck51

I am small in a big world, and writing this really doesn’t change anything but, I wanted to say that the fact that there has not been one gun law passed since Sandy Hook is not okay. It’s not okay with me. I don’t agree. We as Americans have got to work together to do something. We need to put aside our differences and find a way to stop Americans from being gunned down – plain and simple. To some, this may not seem like your responsibility and, it never is our responsibly until it affects us personally.

Columbia was close to home for me, and at the rate we are going, it seems like these horrific events are just going to keep happening unless we do something about them. How many more people is it going to take? How many more children? Women? Men? Teenagers? I would like to raise my children in a world where their first thought to a loud noise in a public place isn’t – am I going to die here? I want a world where they feel safe to approach the front of the store instead of readying themselves to run to the back, where they can go to the movies and be safe. Is that too much to ask?

I am so tired. We are all so tired of this. The same old sad story in different places, different clothes, and different faces. It’s time that we as Americans do something for real. Take a stand. Say something. Anything. It’s never our responsibility until it’s us, our friends, our children, our family, and it’s time that we all wake up and recognize that this problem is not going to go away unless we do something. Anything.

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9 thoughts on “I Am So Tired of Gun Violence

  1. budziak March 12, 2014 / 11:18 am

    I like this post. It’s not too often I stumble on a thoughtful post. Although it will never be as easy as it seems to solve this issue, there’s just too many strong clashing opinions/personalities on gun control from everyone. It’s not a surprise that gun laws are more relaxed in Texas than in California – in CA there’s a test and a waiting period before receiving the firearm but nothing like that in TX. Toby has a handgun and I’ve gone shooting with him several times. We have it for safety, it sits in a combo lock safe on his side of the bed so it gives me an added sense of security, although it would be helpful if I could remember the combo.

    All that said, I see mental illness as a much larger issue. It’s something that no one seems to talk about and it’s a growing issue. In some ways, I feel like we’re giving up on people who could live normal lives without destruction. It’s weird to mention but I started going to therapy to deal with the stress that comes from family issues. It feels weird to say publicly because therapy still seems so taboo, like it’s a bad thing to seek help and not be able to handle everything alone. The reality is we all think about things wrong sometimes and its important to be able to recognize that and know what caused it/where those thoughts came from. My issue is that I can’t get angry because I end up justifying it, which isn’t bad unless it happens all the time and starts to hold you back. I think its part of the reason I have such a hard time sticking up for myself sometimes. Anyways, my whole point is that I don’t think it’s necessarily guns and gun laws but the health & wellness of gun owners or those who can get a hold of guns (which is basically everyone nowadays).

    Stay safe! Toby & I have talked about moving to the DC area but safety is my biggest concern about moving there. Maybe I’m paranoid but I figure if anything terrorist related were to happen, DC would be the most targeted place. Then again, I’d love to move back home and Silicon Valley is a pretty powerful place too… (Seattle still comes in at #1 on my list)

  2. lwk2431 March 12, 2014 / 1:47 pm

    “…every time I hear about another shooting be it mass murder or another homicide in Baltimore, I want to scream.”

    And what are the majority of those homicides in Baltimore? Who exactly is killing whom most of the time? And exactly why do you think they wouldn’t be killing each other if they didn’t have guns and had to use something else? If illegal drugs are more available to them now and at cheaper prices than before the “War on Drugs” began why do you think they would have any problem whatsoever buying an illegal gun? If you can’t keep drugs from coming across our borders what makes you think you can keep guns out of their hands?

    Maybe you are focused on the wrong problem?

    “I am tired of Americans being killed for no reason at all.”

    According to official statistics from the FBI for 2011 for homicide when the race of the offender was known it was black 52.4% of the time although blacks were less than 14% of the population then. And the victims were very often black too.

    The root cause of the problem in our inner cities – the place were a very large proportion of gun crimes occur – is not the guns. It is social policies beginning in the 1960s that have literally destroyed the black family. Of course Obama’s “War on Jobs” hasn’t helped much either.

    The real problem has been the destruction of the black family. Read black authors like Thomas Sowell for confirmation of that.

    If you factor out these inner city homicides involved drug dealers and gang bangers then the rest of the country really doesn’t have nearly the gun violence problem that you might imagine. The problem is highly concentrated and the cause, as said before, is the creation of social problems, not guns.

    “Over a year ago, twenty six people including twenty children were murdered at an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut by a gunman with automatic weapons.”

    “Automatic weapons” are machine guns. My son in the Marines uses a real machine gun. What that killer used was a semi-automatic rifle that in function is no different than many semi-automatic hunting rifles used in this country for almost a century now. I understand you don’t know the difference. But cosmetically – and I guess you understand the concept of “cosmetic” – looks like a real machine gun, but it is not. Simple fact.

    Here is another fact. Some years ago our Congress pass a “Gun Free Zone Act” that basically advertised to the crazy, like the Newtown killer, that he could kill a lot of legally unarmed people in schools. He could do that before the police arrived. Because they had no way to defend themselves from a puny weakling who just happened to have a gun.

    That is what people like Lanza are like. The are crazy. They want to commit suicide after showing the world what they can do. They do not want to be killed by someone else though. When armed police show up they usually kill themselves. or if they lose the nerve to put the gun to their own head, they surrender. They are not Green Berets or Navy Seals. They are pathetic little cowards that are only emboldened by the legal promise that their victims can’t shoot back.

    If you are really upset about Newtown, then support the idea that good people in schools should have some guns to protect kids. If that principal at Newtown had had her own loaded AR-15 in a locked closet then only Lanza would have probably died, and probably by his own hand after he couldn’t walk into that school unopposed.

    We protect our money in banks with guns. We protect valuable jewelry stores with armed guards with guns. We protect a lot of things with guns even slimy politicians not worth half the value of the lives of those kids killed in Newtown. We even protect the President with a lot of guns (including hidden sub-machine guns carried by the Secret Service). So why are children _NOT_ important enough to be protected with guns?

    If you want to get sick, or upset, then get upset that we don’t value kids enough to adequately protect them.

    lwk

    • Sam March 12, 2014 / 6:27 pm

      I will start with – “We need to put aside our differences and find a way to stop Americans from being gunned down – plain and simple.”

      “I am tired of being told that guns are the answer.”

      I can guarantee you that giving a teacher a gun and asking him or her to shoot another child should it come to it is not only going to be completely and totally traumatizing for that teacher but also teach every child in America that guns are necessary. If we are at the point that we are putting guns in schools to protect our children, there is a deeper problem that needs to be fixed.

      I’ll leave you with – “We as Americans have got to work together to do something.”

      Even though we are on two sides of the fence, we can both agree that it is well passed the time that SOMETHING was done about gun control in this country. I believe that mental health background checks would be a good step in the right direction.

      • lwk2431 March 12, 2014 / 10:47 pm

        “We need to put aside our differences and find a way to stop Americans from being gunned down – plain and simple.”

        And you need to open your mind to find those answers. Just a prejudice against guns and people who own guns will get you nowhere.

        One way to stop people from being gunned down is to make it more dangerous for criminals and crazies to initiate the use of violence against the law abiding. One simple answer is more people being armed all the time in public – concealed carry.

        The “shall issue” concealed carry movement started in the 1980s in Florida in response to an alarming rise of attacks of women in public. When women could get a license to carry a concealed handgun those attacks diminished and there is clear evidence that more people carrying does deter some violent criminals – the problem is that so far there are just not enough to make the difference we need.

        “Shall issue” means the state sets up objective criteria a person must meet to get a concealed carry permit or license. If a person meets those criteria then by law the state must issue the the license. In the past where licensing was technically legal local law enforcement might simply refuse to issue a license unless you were rich, or powerful (how Sen. Diane Feinstein got a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Calif. although being the hypocrite she is, she opposed regular civilians getting one).

        Another answer is to examine the social problems in our inner cities that lead to so much violence. The War on Drugs is on factor and the disastrous social programs of Democrats for half a century are another. Those programs have destroyed the black family in the inner city leading to a huge rise in crime and violence. And as said before, Obama’s War on Jobs is another factor.

        “I can guarantee you that giving a teacher a gun and asking him or her to shoot another child should it come to it is not only going to be completely and totally traumatizing for that teacher but also teach every child in America that guns are necessary.”

        I doubt you can guarantee anything. I doubt that you actually know very much about the subject.

        First off, and this has been proven by studies by Dr. Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, the majority of cases of self defense use of a firearm hardly ever involves even firing the gun. People actually shooting other people in self defense is very rare, although guns are used in self defense a lot (and a lot are never reported to the police). Most often a person displays a gun and the attacker quickly leaves the area.

        In the 1990s, when gun violence was peaking, Kleck did a study that estimated 2.5 million uses of a firearm in self defense in the U.S. every year and upwards of 400,000 lives saved. Now since then homicides are half what they were then and are approaching historic lows not seen since the 1960s.

        In fact gun violence has been steadily dropping now for two decades and current FBI stats do not indicate that changing. However the media work overtime to create exactly the opposite impression.

        As to schools allowing teachers to get a concealed carry permit and carry in school, that has already been tried here in Texas in one school district for several years now with no problems. Always when concealed carry has been proposed opponents would cry that “blood would run in the streets,” and their claims have consistently been proven wrong. They said that a decade or so ago in Texas. Now we have ha a concealed carry law since then with no ill effects (and some good effects of lives being saved).

        My wife is a school teacher who has very little and disabled kids. She has said to me that if there were an active shooter in her school her children would not be able to hide in a closet and stay quiet. That is why if her school district allows it in the future she will consider getting a permit. There would be no one else their to protect her children now. Just like Newtown.

        “it is well passed the time that SOMETHING was done about gun control in this country”

        You are right. We do need to do something. We need to repeal the Gun Free School Zone Act and making sure that every crazy knows that they will be met with deadly force if they decide to enter a school to kill kids. It is really that simple.

        As to passing more gun control, the momentum in the future may more like be to repeal some. Decades ago citizens carrying concealed handguns in public was very rare. Today the majority of states have a “shall issue” law and many more, including a lot of women, are getting them. In fact that is one of the major trends in firearms ownership today – women buying guns for self protection. Decades ago I could go to the gun range and it would be almost exclusively a male club. Not so today, not even close.

        regards,

        lwk

        • Sam March 13, 2014 / 5:56 am

          I have neither the time nor energy to read and respond to yet another insanely long comment so sorry you wasted your time with writing that one. I stated in the very beginning of this post that if this offends you – sorry. We live in a country of free speech. You have your opinion and, I have mine. The thing is, you don’t want to discuss gun control. You don’t want to compromise. You want to force your ideology and beliefs down my throat, and try to discredit me by saying I don’t know anything. Let’s leave it there. I’m never going to win and, you are never going to meet me halfway. This will be my last response to you. If you respond with another insanely long comment, it’s going in the bin.

          • lwk2431 March 14, 2014 / 7:22 pm

            “…you don’t want to discuss gun control.”

            Actually I am in favor of rational gun control. That kind of gun controls punishes criminals for possessing guns and encourages the law abiding and decent folks to own guns and learn how to use them safely and effectively.

            Here is what I am strongly against. I am strongly against the idea that government has the guns and no one else does. I am against the idea that we limit the freedom of individuals to protect themselves and those they love.

            In the 20th century governments killed millions of disarmed people. When you are thinking of “gun control” don’t forget that is also enable governments to kill people, millions of people.

            regards,

            lwk

  3. lisapreece March 12, 2014 / 6:08 pm

    American gun laws baffle me, as someone that has always lived in a country with strict gun control. I just can’t believe that nothing has been done, and your story about fearing for your life in Tesco perfectly illustrates that. For the sake of all Americans, I hope something can be done soon. Great post, and very well written :)

    http://everydaylisamae.wordpress.com

    • Sam March 14, 2014 / 8:46 am

      Yeah – they are a bit of a doozy. I remember a lot of people I talked to in England assumed that because I live in the US, I owned guns and know how to shoot them. lol. Not the case at all.

      • Mended Wheels March 19, 2014 / 12:11 pm

        My husband is from Scotland and we regularly have discussions on this topic. According to him plenty of murders occur, but most of them are from stabbing. This attached chart seems to mostly agree with that theory.

        http://www.citizensreportuk.org/reports/murders-fatal-violence-uk.html

        I somewhat agree with the mental health issue, however, I do think that is the start of a very slippery slope. Can I have a gun in my hand when I have PMS for example? What if I am depressed? ADHD, Autism, or postparttum could potentially make owning a gun illegal. My husband has had major depression issues in the past, would that keep him for obtaining a gun now?

        We like to think that the lawmakers in our country would’t get that silly, but…

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