The school safety debate continues: Can we successfully keep guns in check?
When school shootings become the norm and kids do more adulting than adults
I was debating whether or not to discuss this topic on this life post this week, mostly because I want to discuss topics that are applicable to all. Today’s topic is very much a problem in the United States, almost exclusively, if not completely. I decided to bring it up because maybe, if you don’t live in the USA, you know somebody who does. In that case, you should read on and bring it up so we can keep the conversation going. Why? Because the more we talk about it and bring it to light, the likelier we are to reach the critical mass that we need to make a change.
Just what exactly I’m I talking about? I am talking about the fact that two weeks ago, on Valentine’s day no less, we had another mass shooting in a school. You probably already heard about it. If you live in the US, you most certainly did.
Can we reach a consensus in this hotly debated topic? Can we keep guns in check? Well, let’s begin with the basics.
What defines a mass shooting? According to the Congressional Research Service, a “public mass shooting” is defined as one in which four or more people selected indiscriminately, not including the perpetrator, are killed or injured.
This time around, 17 people died. Fourteen of those were kids between 14 and 18 years of age. Three were teachers. Since 2012, we’ve had 5 other mass shootings in schools across the US. This includes Sandy Hook Elementary School, where there were 28 victims. This does not include any school shootings under 4 victims. So, the actual number of school shootings is greater than that.
Let’s not forget there are other mass shootings aside from schools, like the Orlando nightclub shooting or the Vegas massacre shooting (where 58 people died).
The Physician in me
As somebody who has spent a considerable amount of my life learning how to keep children safe and alive, I find these numbers alarming. They are disgusting, offensive and, quite frankly insulting. I feel this to my very core.
When the government allows these shootings to keep happening, time after time, it seems like some sort of bad joke. I can’t help but take it a bit personally, like they are laughing at all the sleepless nights and lost family time that I sacrificed to be able to help children. To keep them alive. Sometimes by doing even more than what we should. You could certainly fault me for not having stopped and let go early enough. This is my instinct, to keep fighting, to make sure I have explored every single option available to preserve life. It is ingrained in me. I have to check myself often to say stop, time to let them go.
These shootings go against all these inner workings. I can’t do anything against them, I have no options to explore. One bullet, at the right location, and that’s it. Lost life. I can help with so many diseases and conditions, but with this one, I’m impotent. However, there are people that can do something about it, but they have not.
How many times does this story have to repeat itself for somebody to do something? For our government officials to start behaving ethically and morally and to stop allowing the National Rifle Association (NRA) to grease their palm?
The NRA has spent ridiculous amounts on political contributions in their efforts to prevent any type of gun regulation. It is a business to them. How much has it spent and which politicians have benefited? Check out this site to see the totals and distribution.
The second amendment
The second amendment of the United States Constitution states that “a well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It was created in 1791. Now, a lot has changed between 2018 and 1791, in the early days of the union. There have also been plenty of legal cases that have interpreted what this law means in a few different ways. There are debates regarding if this amendment was meant to protect an individual’s right to bear arms or the right of a collective group/militia organization like the National Guard. To me, the militia option makes more sense, but clearly this is open to debate.
Be that as it may, as someone who fights for life, who holds the sanctity of life with the utmost regard, I would be happy to live in a world with no guns. Even for hunting. I was traumatized by the death of Bambi’s mother as a child and can’t really say I’m a fan of shooting animals for the fun of it. Now that may sound completely idealistic a la John Lennon’s “Imagine”, but I am willing to compromise. I don’t expect for everybody to share my opinion and I am not going to impose my views on anyone. If you like hunting, go at it. I certainly don’t have to participate. Also, I can even almost understand it if you hunt for food and consume the whole animal (as opposed to shooting for fun). It is what animals do in the wild and it is what we have done to survive in the past.
If you want to have a firearm in your home for protection, and you are able to responsibly store it, I am not interested in taking that away from you. To be honest, the hysteria that the NRA plants in that “they” are trying to take your guns away is simply untrue.
Keep Guns in Check
What we need to do is make it harder for people who should not have a gun to get guns. That is where the compromise lies. Also, I certainly don’t understand why any regular citizen should be able to get automatic weapons that are able to shoot multiple bullets without stopping. For 10 years, between 1994 and 2004, assault rifles were banned. People still had guns, just not these AR weapons which are the weapon of choice for mass shootings. Why would regular civilians need this? It is truly beyond my comprehension.
Finally, if you have mental instability, you shouldn’t have a weapon. This seems so obvious to me. A psychologically disturbed person could easily end up hurting themselves or others. I remember being in the psych wards during my medical school rotations. I was nervous all the time. Always looking behind your back, making sure you never gave your back to a patient, knowing where the panic buttons were located in the consult rooms.
Many of these patients are released after therapy and medication. Unfortunately, without close follow up or medications, they can fall back quickly. Many have managed to slip through the system altogether and roam the world. I am not saying these are “bad” people, but they are sick. They have different types of mental illness and should not be able to carry guns. Why have we rolled back the regulations that made it harder for this population to get weapons? I won’t even get into the regulations that apply to people involved in domestic abuse, because that is another mess unto itself.
The mom in me
Last week, I heard a father speaking about the 14 y/o daughter he lost during the Florida school shooting. His wife couldn’t talk because she was so “broken”. I though, WTF (pardon my French, thick skin people). And I cried. I cried because it was so easy to empathize. It could have been any of us. I cried because there was unnecessary loss of healthy life. Again.
If your child develops a terminal disease and dies from it, there was nothing you could do about it. However, if your government puts guns in the hands of people that shouldn’t have them, and your child dies because of it, that is preventable. That is BS. That makes me SO angry, just thinking about it I feel my face getting hot.
Would the NRA change if it was their children being murdered? How many times do I have to see my news app light up telling that there was another school shooting? How many more babies have to pay the price of adult stupidity? A world where self-interest goes above the sanctity and respect for human life? HOW MANY? We can’t keep doing this! WE HAVE TO COME TOGETHER AND FIND A SOLUTION. In order to do this, we need to find a midpoint. I am willing to compromise. I compromise every day of my life at so many levels. What about you, NRA? What about you, government? Are you capable and willing to compromise?
Like so many times before, out of darkness comes light. I have to say that seeing the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland has been inspiring. These kids are so eloquent and well spoken. They have received their call to action and are ready to act. I would not be surprised if these kids, in their resiliency, are able to make the change the adults who are supposed to protect them, could not.
In closing, if you live in the USA, whether you are for guns or against guns and whatever your interpretation of the second amendment is, call your government representative. Tell them you want reform in the form of gun regulations. Everyone should want these. Even as a gun owner, you should want to make sure guns don’t fall into the wrong hands.
If you don’t live in the US, call up a friend in the US and strike up a conversation to try and spark their desire for gun control reform. Let’s keep guns in check. Let’s protect our children. It’s what we are supposed to do, protect and defend our children until they are able to.
Thanks for hearing me out 💕
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