Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/katiegodowski_photography/
Let me start by sending my condolences to the families affected by the recent mass shootings that have taken place within the United States as well as the senseless gun violence that takes place on a daily basis. There is no amount of sympathy that can understand the grief these families are experiencing. There aren’t any words that will make their pain go away or any more bearable. There were innocent lives lost because of cowardly acts of violence.
Because of these terrible events, the conversation about gun control has once again made its way to the forefront. It is my opinion that the issue that we face is one of people and accountability. Stricter laws only apply to law-abiding citizens. But as we all know criminals don’t care about the laws, they will buy guns and use them to promote their criminal activity. And the law-abiding citizens are the ones who won’t have guns to protect themselves and their homes. According to https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/ at the time of me writing this, there have been 9,229 deaths classified as homicide/murder/unintentional/DGU and 278 classified as mass shootings. I encourage all of you to go check out the statistics for yourself.
The two mass shootings where 18-year-old children were the perpetrators are really what solidified for me that America has a people problem. When I was 18, I was not thinking about guns and killing people. I was excited about being in college and experiencing my first taste of adulthood. I pondered on how I would change the world and be successful. My mother, family, and friends were encouraging me to be my best and be a good citizen. Furthermore, I would have never been able to purchase an arsenal and bring it into my mother’s house. I would not have been able to have conversations with the people in my life about shooting up schools, stores, churches, or anything for that matter and they just listen. I was surrounded by people who cared about me and the community we lived in. Where were these people for these young men? Where were their parents? How were they raised that they had such disregard for human life? Where are the members of society that are willing to stop these incidents before they happen?
Being silent on the sidelines while our children are being murdered in schools and our grandparents, aunts, uncles, mothers, and fathers aren’t safe to go grocery shopping or worship is no longer acceptable. We all must take a stand and speak up. We must be better people to one another and take accountability when one of our own slips through the cracks. I don’t have all the answers and honestly, no one has all the answers but I know that it starts within communities to have the conversation and hold each other accountable and to a standard of being a decent human beings.