The American Gun Obsession

Here we are yet again. With the latest news of a school shooting that took place, this time in Texas. News articles are stating that the murderer had access to his parent’s legally bought guns, went to the school, and slaughtered the teenagers. Police are reporting bombs were found on the school premise as well. Another god damn tragedy, more fucking funerals, and more night terrors for students who were exposed to students who were killed and seriously injured.

The mass shooting wont be solved by “banning guns”. I personally dislike the phrase “gun control” because that causes the gun fetishists to start screaming in protest. Rather, I prefer the use the phrase “gun policies” because protective measures can be put in place to help greatly reduce the chance of these mass murders from happening (limiting the amount of guns and/or ammo bought online in a certain period of time, mandatory background checks for every gun sale, speaking to friends and family members to get an idea of the buyer’s personality and social history, among other things).

However, modifying gun policies isn’t the only thing that needs to change. Mental health care treatment is a god damn luxury in this country, even with insurance it can be extremely expensive (often ranging from $200–600+, depending on what the test specifically involves, who the person testing is, among other factors). Mental health care needs to become more affordable and accessible in order to help start change. This will greatly help reduce all different types of violent occurances (spousal abuse, sibling abuse, school shootings, child abuse, etc.).

Australia changed things immediatly after their first mass shooting and they went years without another mass shooting occuring. Japan’s method of giving civilians guns is extremely intensive (involving things like gun safety lessons, waiting periods, among other events). The point to be made here is that maybe, just maybe America needs to take a look at how other countries are legally handling guns, it might help change things. The argument of “well it’s a different culture! It won’t work here!” is bullshit. It’s equivalent to the “tradition” argument (“We always have done human sacrifice! Why should we change because some foreigners find it barbaric!”), which does nothing except give your brain comfort because you’re afraid of change.

One huge factor about America’s gun problem is the fact that we have extremely large amounts of guns (of all types) in circulation (bought legally and illegally). If America offered a buy-back program for guns, this could help reduce the amount of gun violence as well.

The solution is not to make our school systems like a prison system (metal detectors, barbed wire fences around schools, cameras everywhere, etc.). The solution is not to “arm the teachers” because in life or death scenerios, you do not know how you’ll react until you’re in the middle of it. Not to mention, do you really comfortable with the idea of a teacher with a gun in the classroom, where if they’re having a bad day anf the wrong kid upsets them, they shoot the kid dead? What is a school shooting is happening and the SWAT team kills the teacher because the teacher had a gun (SWAT teams are trained to take down on site, not ask questions).

People love to talk big on the internet like “OH YEAH! I’D SAVE THEM IF I WAS THERE!” No, you wouldn’t John. You’d freeze like a deer in headlights, play dead, or run for your life. Statistically speaking, very few people use the “fight” response in flight vs fight (partially because people aren’t built for endurance in regards to fighting, adrenline does not last long in your system and all). Even if you’re trained to the point of muscle memory and have a gun on you, you’re more likely to accidentally harm a by-stander or completely miss the shooter. People who have survived mass shootings have stated they didn’t even think about the gun they had in the middle of the shooting spree because they were just focused on surviving and helping others survive (which is the totally normal thing to happen in an immediate life or death crisis because of biology and physiology).

The “hero with a gun” narrative rarely comes to life. It’s a bullshit myth that Hollywood and the NRA has shoved down America’s throat. If it does come to life, it is often because the hero is a trained marksmen in some shape or fashion (to the point of muscle memory), like a military person or off-duty cop.

Video games, movies, comics, tv shows,and all other forms of mass media are not the problem either. People have been hurting and slaughtering each other since the dawn of time. One thing the media is known to do poorly though, is the depiction of school shootings. American Horror Story in season 1 did it extremely distastefully and it looks like the latest season of 13 Reasons Why was delayed because it dealt with gun violence. 13 Reasons Why is extremely controversial and problematic, one of the biggest reasons is that many viewers found the message “love conquers all, including mental illness” is an extremely dangerous and sometimes deadly message to send to people.

The NRA and other donors to the representatives in government have the people in a chokehold. Unfortunately, money is a huge factor on how “our representatives” vote on different bills. Since these people are absolutely terrified of losing their funding, they just send “thoughts and prayers” to the victim. Americans are sick of it. “Thoughts are prayers” don’t heal the wounded or bring back the dead. “Thoughts and prayers” don’t change gun policies. “Thoughts and prayers” won’t change the fact that the students involved in the shooting will likely need counseling for the rest of their lives, because they witnessed a fellow student be shot dead right next to them.

The second amedment was crafted in an era when guns took 1–3 minutes to reload. The guns at the time often only shot 1–3 bullets before needing to reload. Guns now? They can shoot off hundreds of bullets and be reloaded in a matter of thirty seconds (even larger guns and larger gun magazines). Some scholars have interpreted a “well regulated militia” as people who serve in the military (or former military) since the average Joe/Jane in America is not battle-ready in a minute’s time (sorry America, it’s true). It is something to consider. Recent court cases (ranging from 2012–2017) have had judges state that “assault weapons are not protected by the second amendment”, often citing that “weapons of war have no place in civilain homes”. It will be interesting to see how these court case decisions will influence future laws.

How many more people have to die before things change? How many more people will need counseling because they witnessed their friend get a limb shot off because of yet another mass shooting?

I’m a queer adopted healthcare worker who writers in their spare time. I have a MPH degree.