This past week, the United States saw another mass shooting (well, at least, one that stayed in the news longer than a day or two). In Thousand Oaks, California, it was a bar, Borderline Bar and Grill, that was the latest target. The bar was filled with college students on November 7 — a night that abruptly flipped from a young, cheerful environment to a somber, fearful group of people fighting to escape for their lives.
The shooter was David Long, a United States Marine veteran. He killed 13 people at Borderline that night.
Flashback to December 14, 2012. An elementary school in Connecticut, Sandy Hook, was the target of a shooting that killed 26 people, including 20 students. When the shooting happened in Sandy Hook, I can remember being in Detroit, Michigan at a hockey tournament. We had a “secret Santa” exchange that night at the team hotel. I was distracted by the news on the TV about the shooting. It shook everyone, and it wasn’t over after the day of the shooting. When everyone returned to school on Monday, a lot of teachers talked about the shooting, what had happened, and tried to assure students it wouldn’t happen at our school.
Sandy Hook — what happened, how it happened, why it happened, who it happened to — was talked about far beyond the day of the shooting, but now? A shooting happens, and if there are enough victims, we all might hear of it the day it happens. When the sun comes up the next day, it’s rare we continue to hear or talk about it. It’s become so frequent that the number of shootings that happen resemble a professional sports schedule.
How can it have gotten to a point where a shooting happening is just a natural, everyday occurrence in the United States? While there may be people who don’t feel that shock that they would have felt when Sandy Hook happened, or when there was a shooting at Virginia Tech — the people who get a phone call to tell them their loved one has been shot do feel that shock. They will feel that shock, hate and disbelief for the rest of their lives, because there is no gun control, and innocent people are dying everyday because of it.
What’s happening in the United States is the people are raising the rights to bear arms above the right to live. It’s gotten worse than the two being equal — treating both as just as important as the other. But the way things are going in the United States, peoples right to bear arms has become more important and valuable than human life itself.
What is even more challenging is how many times does it need to be said — gun control. Gun control. Gun control.
Please, please, please — don’t wait for the next school shooting. Don’t wait for the next bar, the next shopping mall, the next convention centre shooting. Don’t wait for more kids to be innocently killed by a classmate or random person off the street. Don’t wait for people to killed because of their religion or their sexuality.
You cannot promote equality, and then turn around and put more value on a right to bear arms than a right to feel safe in your day to day life. There has to be a change now. This has to be a priority now, because otherwise, it will continue day in and day out. Shooting after shooting. Is that really what you want?