The Avenue

Guns – How We Are Affected

Serena Tran, Freshman Writer

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As Americans, we are given privileges not many countries give their people. These privileges come from the constitutional amendments. Not only are we granted freedom, we are granted freedom of speech, freedom of religion and beliefs, freedom of expression, freedom to choose who we marry, and importantly, freedom to bear arms. Now, when it’s stated we have the right to bear arms, it means American citizens are able to possess a weapon. When writing this amendment, our founding fathers believed the people had a right to protect themselves by owning a weapon. The purpose of this was specifically for protecting themselves in times of need, but people are constantly abusing the power that comes with this amendment. Not only regular citizens, but even some police officers who are meant to protect us. According to The New York Times, in the past 485 days, there have been approximately 521 mass shootings. According to Business Insider, in the past year of 2017, there have been 273 mass shootings. A mass shooting is defined as an incident involving multiple victims of firearm-related violence or an event involving the shooting of four or
more people. Some of the worst mass shootings that you may’ve seen on the news include:

Sandy Hook Elementary School, December 14, 2012 – 26 dead, 2 wounded. The gunman was 20-year-Old Adam Lanza. He fatally shot twenty students and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012. The students ranged between
the ages of 6 and 7.

Virginia Tech University, April 16, 2007 – 32 dead, 17 wounded. Gunman Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at the school, killed more than thirty students and instructors in two separate attacks about two hours apart. This mass shooting on Virginia Tech University’s campus remains as one of the most deadliest school shooting in US history.

Orlando, June 12, 2016 – 49 dead, 58 wounded. Before Sunday, October 1st, the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, was the deadliest mass shooting in US history. Gunman Omar Mateen killed nearly 50 people at the nightclub. This particular night, the club was hosting “Latino Night”, so many of the victims were Latino.

Las Vegas, October 1, 2017- 59 dead, 546 wounded. The most recent and deadliest mass shooting in US history took place almost one month ago, at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire at the crowd attending the festival, resulting in many deaths and injuries. He fired from his 32nd floor room at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. This lasted more than 15 minutes as panicked concertgoers tried to take cover. Not only was this an absolutely terrifying tragedy, but Paddock previously planned to attack
Boston, and Chicago’s own Lollapalooza festival. He booked rooms at Chicago’s Blackstone Hotel across the street from Grant Park, but never checked into the hotel.

Now imagine this – you’re out enjoying an event with your family or friends, when suddenly you hear the piercing screams of the people around you and the sound of multiple gunshots being fired. Your heart races, your palms shake and sweat, you feel a gut wrenching feeling, you’re frozen in place. What you thought was going to be an enjoyable evening turns to be an unforgettable nightmare. Not only are you in this situation, but so are your loved ones. In an instant, a special day turns into possibly the last day of your life.

This is how many victims of mass shootings feel. We could never imagine all the pain the survivors have gone through, and hopefully we never have to. These people have witnessed fear first hand. We hear stories of these terrible events, yet nothing is being done to prevent it. We have to live in fear that our lives could be taken from us so easily. Thousands upon thousands of innocent lives have been taken already. These events show how evil people can truly be. There’s so much hatred in their hearts that they can even go to the point of killing innocent people. From this, I learned a few things about humanity. In these types of situations, there are two types of people, those who will cause horrific events like these to happen, and those who will live through it, muster up as much strength and courage as they can, and help the community recover.

Now to my opinion on this, and more specifically, guns. I believe people should have the right to own weapons, a limited amount, because they will face situations that calls for personal protection. However, I will never condone the use of these weapons for mass murders. It’s one thing to use a gun to kill for protection, it’s another thing to take pleasure in it. It’s incredibly sickening to know we live in a world where people take enjoyment in murdering others. The lives of young and old, the lives who had bright futures, the lives who had so much to live for, the lives that have been taken from their families causing many broken homes. America may be known as the strongest country in the world, but America also has the largest history of mass shootings. We cannot call a country strong if it’s segregated by hatred.

Please pay respect to the families who have lost their loved ones. It’s not easy living with the constant pain of realizing someone you hold near and dear to your heart is suddenly gone. Life is so unexpected, one minute you’re living life, another minute that life could taken from you. We cannot predict when these events will happen, but we can try our best to make sure they don’t. We still need to take action, congress must take action, if we don’t, this country can and will fall apart completely.

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Guns – How We Are Affected