Your Prayers Aren't Enough

On Sunday, November 5th, 2017, twenty-six people were gunned down while worshipping at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.  Twenty other people were injured.  

Are we surprised?  We certainly shouldn't be.  In just over a month, two mass shootings, both of which received widespread media coverage, have occurred in the United States.  The worst part is that there are hundreds of other shootings happening daily that, unfortunately, aren’t covered in the news.  We should have done something about this vile epidemic the second we became desensitized to these types of tragedies.  FYI, prayers don't count as taking action.

“Criminals will find a way around gun laws!”  Maybe, but you're missing the point.  The point of gun control is to make it more difficult for criminals to obtain guns in the first place.  Remember Adam Lanza, or Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold?  Their crimes were committed using legally obtained weapons.  In the United States, the gun homicide rate is 25% higher than that of other developed countries around the world.  In Australia, less than one month after the Port Arthur massacre of 1996, the national government (which happens to be mostly conservative) initiated fundamental change of the country's gun laws.  The National Agreement on Firearms prohibited the ownership of automatic and semiautomatic weapons and strengthened licensing rules.  Not surprisingly, there have been approximately zero mass shootings in Australia since.  After World War II, Japan enacted some of the world's strictest gun laws.  The only firearms allowed in the country are shotguns, and if a civilian is able to own one, they must first go through extensive background checks, mental health testing, and instruction on how to properly use the gun.  Then, they must inform authorities of how the weapon will be used and how the ammunition is stored.  Many experts accredit Japan's highly restrictive gun regulations to its extremely low gun homicide rate.

“What about my second amendment rights?”  The word "amendment" is defined as a minor change in a document.  Therefore, amendments can be changed.  The same people focused on "making America great again" don't seem to think there is room for improvement.  A simple change to the Constitution could be everything we need to really make this country great.  If it doesn't go as planned, we can always change it back to its original form.  "But America was founded on these values!"  Well, I hate to break it to you, but it's 2017.  When the Constitution was written, machine guns didn't exist.  We were also fighting a war on our soil, and, because we hadn't yet become an industrialized society, wild animals could easily show up on our doorstep.  America has changed, humanity has changed, and now, our laws need to change.

"If we ban guns, I guess we should ban trucks, too."  This is by far the most ridiculous argument that anyone has ever come up with, and I included it here mainly so that we could all laugh at its pathetic attempt to provoke thoughtful conversation.  While the terror attacks committed with trucks are equally as horrible as those committed with guns, firearms were not manufactured with the intent of killing multiple people in a short span of time.  Trucks were made to drive, guns were made to kill.  It's literally as simple as that.

It’s curious that, especially in this situation, people are offering condolences in the form of prayer.  Isn’t that exactly what the Sutherland Springs victims were doing at the moment they were shot?  Offering prayers is nice, but it is also a pathetic cop out used to avoid taking any real responsibility.  The only way we can stop these tragedies from occurring is by passing actual legislation to prevent them.  Obviously, there will always be people that will stop at nothing to hurt others.  However, there are steps we can take to significantly reduce gun casualties in our country. 

Your prayers clearly aren't working all that well.  Use your voice, take a stand, and be the change.