America mourns another mass shooting tragedy.
On November 17, the 312thday of 2018, the 307thAmerican mass shooting of the year took place at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California. You read that right: there were almost as many mass shootings in the U.S. as there were days of the year.
Gunman Ian David Long, a former marine officer, shot the security officer and cashier outside of the bar before proceeding inside and opening fire, killing 11 others and injuring several before killing himself.
Investigations revealed that the gunman posted on his Instagram prior to the shooting stating, “the fact is [he had] no reason to do it.” Long even went on to mock the public responses that would follow his shooting, stating that all people do is pray for the victims and “wonder why these [shootings] keep happening.” And I hate to admit it, but he’s right.
News of mass shootings is becoming so ‘normal’ in the United States that we tend to skim the details and move on. In fact, even the details of these tragedies are so similar that they all seem to blend together. We overlook the victims of these events.
Sergeant Ron Helus not only threw himself in front of the shooter’s gun, but also served his country for 29 years. Helus was going to retire in a year to finally spend some time with his family.
Cody Coffman was an older brother looking forward to having a new baby sister to take care of.
Telemachus Orfanos, who had come home safe after the Las Vegas Pulse shooting last year, became a victim of the Thousand Oaks shooting. Orfanos’ mother even released a statement stating that she hopes “nobody else sends [her] any more prayers”, but instead works to promote stricter gun control regulation.
You may be wondering why no political action has been taken yet regarding gun control despite the increasing number of mass shootings per year. There are many factors that influence the U.S. government from passing stricter laws. Some say the National Rifle Association’s political influence and lobbying power is the main factor of this standstill, while others state that it is the Supreme Court’s precedents that it is an individual’s right—as per the Second Amendment—to bear arms.
Of course, the impact of the bipartisan government cannot be undermined. Since Republicans have held a majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives for the past few years, gun control bills and laws have not been able pass. With the result of the midterm elections this past week, Democrats, who are in favor of stricter gun laws, have gained the majority in the House of Representatives. Many Congressmen and women have put out statements after this shooting that attempts will be made to pass laws for more thorough background checks, including mental health checks, prior to handgun purchases. It is important to keep in mind that Democrats are not arguing for enactments that outlaw an individual’s ability to own a gun; they are simply arguing for a more stringent gun sale process.
As students, we do have a voice and a responsibility in this battle. Thousands of high school students walked out of class earlier this year after the Parkland massacre and established the Never Again Movement for stricter gun control regulation. Young activists voted in the midterm elections in light of these movements. Our protests, petitions, and votes all advocate for our freedom to go to a concert and not be terrified of a popping drink bottle, or a falling barricade. It is time to take a stand and prevent further unnecessary bloodshed.
Cartoon illustrated by Michael Karshis | Creative Commons