What's Next for America?
When will it ever stop?
The shootings, the violence, the deaths?
“Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not. But that’s unacceptable. As others have observed, talking about how to stop a mass shooting in the aftermath of a string of mass shootings isn’t ‘too soon.’ It’s much too late.” - Ezra Klein (Harvey, 2022).
Over the past few years, gun violence has risen to the forefront of public consciousness. Time and time again, news of another mass shooting hits our headlines. Part of our healing must be the conviction that we will do everything in our power to keep these tragedies from happening in a nation that continues to face a pandemic of gun violence (Fleshman, 2022). We must work to prevent the daily death by guns as well as the mass shootings that claim so may lives of Americans.
A shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, left seven dead and at least 47 injured. Well, here is the thing, the authorities in Philadelphia are unsure of whether the bullets were fired in malicious attack or in jubilation of the July 4thcelebrations (Richardson, 2022). The results of the shooting are the same as all others: Americans dead, some wounded and the perpetual fear of the risk of being killed in a shootout. Upturned folding chairs, miniature flags flapping in the breeze and the still visible police barricades are what was left of patriotic fervor that quickly turned into abject panic.
In Orlando, the authorities state that there were no shots fired, but when the people at the celebrations heard what they thought could be gunshots, they began to scream and scatter in a stampede.
The trauma of gun violence doesn’t end when the shooting stops; gun violence has lasting emotional, physical, legal, and financial impacts on survivors as well as their communities. America’s gun death rate, which is 13 times higher than that of other high-income countries, makes us a global outlier. Every year, more than 40,000 Americans are killed in acts of gun violence, and approximately 85,000 more are shot and wounded. That is the equivalent of over 110 people shot and killed each day in the United States, with more than 200 others shot and wounded (Everytown Research & Policy, 2022).
On Wednesday, the House endorsed some of the most aggressive gun-control measures taken up on Capitol Hill in years. It has taken several decades, but at least there is some hope of change regarding gun control in America. There are proposals to raise the minimum age for the purchase of most semiautomatic rifles to 21 and banning high-capacity ammunition magazines in a bid to curb the recent high-profile mass shootings (DeBonis, 2022). Five Republicans joined most Democrats in backing the legislation and two Democrats voted no. This was necessary to show Americans that more can be done to prevent not only mass-casualty incidents such as the killings last month in Buffalo and Uvalde, but the hundreds of less deadly mass shootings and everyday incidents of gun violence that have long scourged America.
The Senate is also exploring means of encouraging states to create red-flag systems, a modest expansion of background checks to incorporate juvenile records, as well as funding for mental health programs and school security improvements.
DeBonis, M. (2022, June 8). House passes tough new gun measures hours after wrenching testimony. Retrieved from Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/06/08/house-gun-legislation/
Everytown Research & Policy. (2022, February 3). When the Shooting Stops. Retrieved from Everytown Research & Policy: https://everytownresearch.org/report/the-impact-of-gun-violence-on-survivors-in-america/
Fleshman, M. (2022). Gun Violence Must Stop. Here's What We Can Do to Prevent More Deaths. Retrieved from Prevention Institute: https://www.preventioninstitute.org/focus-areas/preventing-violence-and-reducing-injury/preventing-violence-advocacy
Harvey, B. (2022, May 26). 28 Quotes About Gun Violence To Inspire Change. Retrieved from Goodgoodgood: https://www.goodgoodgood.co/articles/gun-violence-quotes
Patrick Jonsson, N. R. (2022, June 6). Has the gun become a sacred object in America? Retrieved from The Christian Science Monitor: https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2022/0606/Has-the-gun-become-a-sacred-object-in-America
Perry, S. L. (2022, MAY 25). School Shootings Confirm That Guns Are the Religion of the Right. Retrieved from Time: https://time.com/6181342/school-shootings-christian-right-guns/
Richardson, M. (2022, July 5). The Fourth of July 2022, a day of violence and fear in America. Retrieved from Grid: https://www.grid.news/story/global/2022/07/05/the-fourth-of-july-2022-a-day-of-violence-and-fear-in-america/
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Sarah Hobson, Ph.D. specializes in supporting teams, departments and schools, businesses, and government agencies in building inclusive innovative change-making communities who understand how to connect well with and join diverse populations in providing needed sustainable resources for all youth and families.