How many more innocent lives have to be lost?
How many more families have to grieve?
How many more people have to live in fear for this money-dominated American government to put aside its childish differences and work cooperatively to uphold the rights and lives of the citizens that they were elected to protect?
In light of the barbaric events in America in the past couple months, this has been a particularly hard piece to write, since the topic has left me and millions of others around the globe devastated and appalled.
Gun violence in America is no secret to anyone. After the the Supreme Court decision DC v Heller in 2010, the right for an individual to own a handgun was constitutionally protected and upheld by 9 unelected and unaccountable justices. Since then, we have a seen seemingly endless number of innocent lives taken due to gun crime – the massacre of LGBT citizens in Orlando last month being just the largest. The most recent horror story to come from America is the unprovoked and unjust killing of Philando Castile by a US police officer – yet another name to add to the list of the 1,134 young black men murdered by the police in the last 7 months.
Many issues could be highlighted here: the blatant discrimination against non-white American citizens by the police; the still very present homophobia in America, arming the police force and, of course, giving individuals easy access to guns based on the rigid interpretation of an 18th century document by 9 justices; 9 people risking the lives of 318 million people due to a decision based on this vague statement: “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.”- Amendment II
However, from all of these issues, I choose to focus on the latter, since limiting gun usage in America or banning it altogether is something that can be done. Changing the racist, sexist or homophobic mindset engrained in so many is a challenge more onerous and quite frankly, I find the reality that some people still think in this way rather hard to swallow.
Since Obama was elected President in 2008, he has attempted and ceaselessly pushed to limit gun usage in America. Just this morning he spoke through tears to an immobile Congress about the necessity of gun control after the recent killings: “In Dr King’s words, we need to feel the fierce urgency of now, because people are dying,” – Obama. However, this is where the issue lies. When Obama lost both Congress and the Senate by 2012, his presidency became stagnant to say the least and he has been unable to pass laws necessary to the protection of US citizens due to the “hyperpartisanship” in government. You would assume that anyone with one shred of decency would agree to restrict gun usage after the massacre in Sandyhook and the shooting of a class of 4-5 year-olds in Newtown. However, it would seem that The Houses are putting their political interests first and blocking any laws Obama tries to pass to demonstrate Republican dominance and authority in government. They must get some sadistic kick out of stopping Democrat laws from being passed, despite the outcome for the US citizens that they have sworn to protect.
The National Rifle Association (America’s largest and wealthiest pressure group campaigning for no restrictions on gun ownership) claimed that restricting gun laws is “political correctness gone mad”. This being the same group that funds mostly Republican members but even some Democrats to be pro guns. Corruption at its most dangerous. On this topic, left wing activist Jolyon Rubinstein fears that “it is so patently clear that the only thing really standing in the way of changing the laws is big money. Big money blocking something that is completely sane, rational and necessary. It is terrifying.”
We are hearing more and more of these cases and these are just the high-profile ones. This is just yet another plea to add to the many for America to at least restrict individual gun ownership – hardly an irrational or unreasonable ask. To read more about the ways in which you can help with this problem, follow this link: