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No Hope For Stricter Gun Control in Our Age

October 10, 2017


Illustration by Frank Lopez

Unfortunately, as it is too often reported, there has been another mass shooting.

A 64-year-old white man shot into a crowd of people attending a country music festival from his room in a hotel on the Las Vegas strip, and then of course, shot himself.

Current toll of people killed: 59.

It would be customary, in a think-piece on mass shootings, to provide a myriad of details on the shooter: his possible motivations, his religious and socioeconomic background, his mental state, his political views, whether he liked heavy metal music or not, etc.., but I’m not going to bother. (Also, I’m sad that there are so many think pieces on various different mass shootings.)

Those details would be forgotten over time, as would the name of the shooter, and he would most likely be pushed way back into the recesses of our minds until his record is surpassed by some other homicidal maniac.

Do you remember the name of the shooter from the Pulse Night Club massacre off the top of your head?

I don’t.

We could get lost in the way that major news outlets present the story of mass shootings: suspicions of multiple shooters with possible ties to Islamic terrorists, speculation of his mental state, debates over gun-control and gun rights, and politicians and the “thoughts and prayers” they are sending to those affected.

This of course sparks discourse on social media about gun issues and political parties (anyone who has seen these types of conversations take place on Twitter or Facebook will know I’m using the term “discourse” very loosely).

There has also been lots of media analysis from users on Twitter about the reporting of more recent mass shootings that tends to focus on the fact that white Christian males are more likely to be domestic terrorists in the U.S.

Sure, that could be helpful to try to describe the differences in how white criminal suspects are treated by the media when compared to suspected people of color, but  I’m not too sure what insight could be gained from this for enacting stricter gun laws and more detailed information on that topic is better explored elsewhere.

People more focused on conspiracy theories that claim there was more than one shooter, or that is a false-flag event concocted by the government for whatever nefarious reason, is just a distraction from the center of this conversation: guns.

I cannot describe any facts or statistics about gun violence that would change the mind of any ardent Second Amendment supporters, or the more wrought-up gun nuts.

Americans simply love their guns.

Ideas about the second amendment and the right to own projectile weapons have become as intense and divisive as any political ideology or party loyalty.

I don’t know how to fight that.

It seems that the most powerful agent to change someone’s mind is experience. A country singer performing at the festival tweeted that the shooting he lived through changed his mind.

There have been stories reported about attendees at the festival expressing similar feelings, but also, some wounded attendees said that they still believe in gun rights.

I’m stupefied that the experience of witnessing a massacre from the hands of a single individual is what it takes to make people reconsider their position on the right to possess a tool that is specifically made to kill people.

With the easy accessibility there is to guns in the U.S., Americans’ love affair with weapons, and with the NRA and the gun industry in the pockets of so many big players in the nation, and the world, I do not see any change coming any time soon.

A presidential administration that refuses to even acknowledge any conversation on legislative action in the light of this tragedy does not leave me hopeful.

It is easier to manipulate a culture that is apathetic and hopeless, and of course no meaningful change can be brought on by that population, but that is how I feel with the issue of gun violence in America.

I am numb.

This keeps happening and we keep having the same conversations.

Please, all keep hope on this, for I have lost mine.

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