Enough is Enough

by Jessica Cyphers of Shift

 

Do not be gentle in this, the great fight.
Rage, rage against those with little sight.
Rage against the machine.

 

In 2015, the Gun Violence Archive states that there were 53,711 gun incidents in the United States. 13,507 of those incidents resulted in death. In 2016, the number of incidents rose to 58,700, with 15,084 resulting in death. Thus far in 2017, at the time of this writing, the number of gun-related incidents and deaths is 54,610 and 13,775, respectively.

That’s a lot of (unnecessary, avoidable) deaths.

To get away from numbers, though, let’s look at headlines. “Missing Illinois bartender found shot dead.” “Toddler finds gun, accidentally kills playmate.” “White cop shoots black man during regular traffic stop.” I am disturbed every time I look at the news. People die from gun wounds EVERY DAY in the United States.

And yet we are silent.

We are silent until a mass shooting in Las Vegas takes place, and then suddenly the whole nation is up in arms. DO SOMETHING!! we cry — for a little while. We are angry with our government for putting guns into the hands of madmen. We are angry that these killings keep happening. But, really, we are tired. We are tired of the headlines. We are tired of bad news. We are tired of our own troubles, and, truthfully, we don’t want to give up our guns. We don’t want to do what it would take personally to eradicate the gun problem in our nation.

By now most everyone has heard about the steps Australia and Japan and the United Kingdom took to curb gun violence on their home fronts. Australia did a huge gun buy-back program; Japan requires intensive training and testing to own a gun. The U.K. banned private handgun ownership and bought back tens of thousands of guns from its citizens. In Hong Kong, where I lived for a year, citizens were never allowed to own guns in the first place. I felt safe in Hong Kong. I don’t feel safe in the United States.

Since the Las Vegas shooting, though, what have people been talking about? Sure, there’s been talk about stricter gun laws, but we Americans have this tendency to focus on effects rather than causes. Just like we still take our shoes off at airports because of one incident years ago, I’ve heard more discussion about screening hotel guests’ luggage than I have about making it more difficult to buy guns since the massacre at the Mandalay Bay.

Notice that I said “making it more difficult to buy guns.” I didn’t say, “Do away with all guns,” or “Only law enforcement officers should have guns,” or “All guns are bad.” Having lived in the South for a few years and having made many wonderful friends here, I can easily see how guns and hunting, etc. are a big part of the culture here. What worked in other countries would not necessarily work in the United States. You can’t come in with sweeping measures that many oppose and expect to find success. But surely there is a middle ground we can all agree on? Surely the reasonablegun owners in the nation would be willing to make some concessions on the kinds of guns they need to own — and the process they’re willing to go through to get them — if it meant keeping a larger majority of our nation safe? If it meant keeping machine guns out of the hands of maniacs?

Because, if we’re not, well . . .

We have no one but ourselves to blame.

(And, also, I’m becoming an expat.)

 

Below are a couple of videos I’ve posted previously on my blog talking about gun violence and the need for change in our nation. They’re worth the watch.

 

 

 

Jessica Cyphers is a native Californian (NorCal, baby!) who’s moved nine times in the last ten years. These transplants have included several years in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the Bay Area, and the South. Currently she’s studying the Rhetoric, Writing, and Linguistics (Huh? Don’t worry — she’s confused, too) at the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville. Come check her out at Shift — because the only thing constant is change.

 

 

 

Written for Rage Against the Machine Month.  If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more information Here.   But first, leave a comment and let Jessica know what you think about her words, and be sure to visit her over at Shift when you’re done.

 

Featured image via http://www.wallpapertag.com

 

 

8 Comments

  1. It’s craziness – well to me – that we are more attached to guns than to people. I doubt if most people wanting to hold on to their guns are thinking about standing up to the US military. Every time another mass shooting happens, I just think wow, are we so numb, do we just not care anymore?
    Separately from all of that – I’m so happy to see you posted here in the Dungeon! Now that one of my blogging goals are finally satisfied, I’m not sure what will be next. Thanks so much for being a part of the series.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I understand hunters needing to have rifles. But I believe citizens should have no access to assault weapons. There is simply no reason to own such a gun outside of the military. AND background checks and more stringent requirements for gun purchasers should be a no-brainer. I am glad you brought this conversation to this series. The numbers are staggering. STAGGERING. So much heartbreak, loss, needless death and suffering.

    Sreejit, thank you for this very intelligent series. It is how I start my day every morning. Very satisfying to read peoples’ very astute essays.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I agree that people don’t need to have assault weapons, but I don’t have a problem with people having a gun at their home for self-protection. Yes, it increases the risks of something going wrong with that gun, but that is the homeowner’s decision to make — whether to have a gun in their home — not mine. A few years ago, I was in my bedroom when I heard gun shots right outside of my house. Right outside of my house. I live in a relatively safe middle class neighborhood. In that moment, the only thing that would have protected me is a gun of my own. If whoever was out there came into our house, the police never would have arrived in time. So, I get the need for self-protection at your home.

      I have a couple of friends who have concealed carry permits. One of them is a real estate agent who deals with a lot of distressed properties. He has, at times, showed up at homes where squatters and homeless people are living illegally. I get his need for a gun. The other is an auto mechanic and has no discernible need to carry a gun around with him. It makes him feel safer. That’s it. That’s what I have a problem with. When we all have guns, none of us are safer. Anybody I see out on the street with a gun who isn’t in the right kind of uniform is a bad guy as far as I’m concerned.

      Regardless of the circumstances, every gun purchaser should have to pass a stringent background check and wait for five or ten days before the purchase happens. Every gun owner should have to be re-tested and re-licensed every two or three years. And any automatic weapon or device that turns a gun into an automatic should be banned for civilian use everywhere in the country. That’s one of the problems we have now is that different states have different rules on who can carry a gun and what kind of gun they can carry. There needs to be uniformity in this. It doesn’t help California to ban all sorts of guns if people can just cross the border and purchase what they want in Nevada or Arizona.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so glad you wrote this. The gun issue upsets me more than any other. It seems like the NRA owns both the Senate and the House. No one seems willing to go up against them. And I don’t understand how so many people whose lives and communities have been so hurt by gun violence still direct their support to maintain the status quo when it comes to guns.

    I don’t feel safe either. Every time I take the garbage out I consider the possibility I could get shot. We haven’t had any gun problems on my block but there have been numerous times in the last few months when people have been shot (probably by gangs) not far from here.

    Liked by 1 person

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