Things Are Bad, It's Time to Ban... October?

October is supposed to be a month of spooky fun, a time to laugh at things that scare us and enjoy the cool weather and changing leaves before the end of the year brings the stress of finals and snow. However, in recent years it feels as though the lighthearted tone of a fun season has been replaced with the suspense and suspicion of a bad horror movie. Superstitions are not really my thing, but October has always stood as a beacon of bad luck in my life, and since starting at the U in the fall of 2016, the curse has only worsened. Freshman year started with an armed rape on Halloween, Sophomore year brought about a fatal car-jacking in which a student, ChenWei Guo, was killed, and less than a year later, Lauren McCluskey was tragically murdered on campus by an ex-boyfriend with a gun.

The travesty of October is not limited to the University of Utah. You see, during the same week that Lauren McCluskey was murdered, the US was filled with other firearm related tragedies. On Wednesday the 24th a white man murdered (actually a more appropriate term is ruthlessly executed) two African Americans in a grocery store in Kentucky, on Saturday of the same week, a synagogue in Pittsburgh was attacked by a white supremacist and 11 people were murdered. By widening the scope of the data being considered, a solution to the curse of October has become clear! Logically, if something is creating a problem it only makes sense that one would need to remove the thing causing the problem. The issue here is that the “Curse of October” causes people to go on murderous rampages; thus, if the month of October were to be removed, many lives could be saved.

But wait…

Despite the disturbing number of heinous crimes committed in the penultimate week of October 2018, the level of violence is, sadly, no higher than usual. As it turns out, removing the month of October would not greatly reduce the number of violent deaths caused by firearms. According to Everytown, an organization that seeks to research and reduce gun violence, 96 Americans are killed by guns every day.

It’s almost incomprehensible, nearly 100 Americans are killed by gun violence every day, and yet, there are many people who can see no solution to this very American problem. To many gun fanatics, cancelling the month of October is a more logical strategy than reducing the general public’s access to guns. The arguments against gun control are completely nonsensical; my favorites being “People will always find a way to get more guns” and “If more people were armed they could have prevented these tragedies”. Apparently, gun nuts have a secret desire to live in a twisted version of the Wild West where a rugged white man “protects” his community from people of color. Just as concerningly, gun fanatics seem to believe that they are capable and responsible for throwing off the yoke of government at any time. These are not thoughts that should exist in a “stable” country.

Despite their many short-comings, I will concede one point to the gun fanatics, much of gun violence can be attributed to issues with mental health (although not in the manner they believe). It is true that the mental health system in this country is complete crap, however, the mental illness that creates the elevated level of gun violence in the US is the result of the sick mentality of a large part of the population. There is something intrinsically wrong about people who find excitement in killing things with military grade weapons. A sick culture is the only way to explain how people can justify placing the right to own high-powered military weapons over the lives of children and minorities. Despite the plethora of evidence indicating that countries in which guns are more highly regulated have fewer cases of gun related deaths, gun fanatics continue to close their ears to reason and scream about the Second Amendment. I suppose the right to receive an education, the right to being able to freely worship, and, you know, the right to life itself is less important than your right to kill deer with high powered rifles.

To those reading this article who are furious about my challenging the great American dream of being able to buy a gun and a cheeseburger from the same drive-thru, I have only one thing to say to you, something that many politicians have been afraid to say. I want to take your guns. I want to take your guns for Lauren McCluskey and ChenWei Guo, for the individuals in the grocery store and the synagogue, for all those whose lives have and will be permanently scarred by gun violence. I want to take your guns for students of all ages for whom the price of getting an education may be their lives. Ultimately, I want to take your guns to create a society that values human rights over some sick fantasy of dominance and murder. In the end, I want to make this country, and the world at large, a better place, and this starts by creating greater restrictions on guns. Removing the month of October from the calendar may not be possible, but reducing the number of deaths caused by gun violence certainly is.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3