Edited by Olivia Spahn-Vieira
Eight women were doing their jobs to earn a living, ten people were at a grocery store buying food to feed their families. Eighteen people total lost their lives in Boulder, Colorado, and Atlanta, Georgia to gun violence, while doing mundane activities. While these events took place in different cities, many people spoke out and questioned whether this is the post-pandemic normal. One wonders how many gun-related deaths it is going to take for the United States government to crack down on gun laws and make them much stricter. With so many questions being asked, what we can say for sure is that the United States has a major problem when it comes to mass shootings and gun control.
In both of these recent acts of gun violence, it has been made clear that both apprehended suspects had serious psychological issues, and difficulty controlling their anger and emotions, which led them to committing these murders. Sadly, many people suffer from mental illness, but most who are suffering are not driven to kill, and do not have easy access to firearms like the two suspects in Boulder and Atlanta. So this begs the question as to why the United States will not impose stricter laws and background checks. Many media sources and politicians will say that although gun violence has taken many lives, the second amendment trumps all, and Americans have the right to bear arms. In protecting this access, the government is essentially saying that they believe that free gun ownership has more value than the lives that are taken from it.
Let’s look more closely at that well-known passage “the right to bear arms”. This second amendment was signed and ratified in 1791, a period when the United States had just recently fought off the British army and when there were still many more wars taking place. Obviously, much time has passed between 1791 and 2021 and a lot has changed within the country. It would make sense that this amendment should also evolve with the times. In my opinion, there is a very big difference in the population owning firearms to fight against a global superpower in order to create a country, versus going to use them at a grocery store or spa when they are having “a bad day”. The government keeps saying that people need arms to protect themselves but in most recent events, they were used as a means to kill and not to protect. I keep wondering how many lives are going to be taken before politicians wake up and see that allowing such free access to guns does not protect anyone.
In Atlanta, there was a local police officer who commented on the suspected shooter, stating that he had “a bad day”. We all have “bad days” but that does not lead us to take the lives of others.
Sitting here in Canada, I realize that this tragedy would be much more unlikely to happen, because it is so much more difficult for ordinary people to obtain a gun license. Meanwhile in the United States, events like these are becoming more of a reality than a huge shock.
It was a well-known fact that during the first pandemic lockdown in 2020, gun violence fell to a record low. Now with the mix of people getting vaccinated, as well as state governors deciding to reopen businesses, the United States is moving toward a post-pandemic normal. Just this past March, two major shootings have taken place. As we continue to move forward, the United States needs to make an important decision regarding what post-pandemic life will look like in relation to gun violence. Injustice is being done, as long as they continue to disregard the lives of victims in order to protect gun owners and their constitutional freedoms.