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Kate McCabe / Gavel Media

Doing Nothing Changes Nothing

Imagine a country where the average number of shootings a day exceeds one. It may sound like a dictatorship or a dystopia, but it’s the reality of America in the 21st Century. The number of mass shootings in 2019 has surpassed the number of days this year. In fact, Sept. 1 was only the 244th day of the year and yet our country somehow managed to rack up a total of 283 mass shootings.

We are the leading country in number of machine gun massacres. The underlying reason behind this is staring our policy makers in the face: shootings incite more shootings. Doing nothing not only changes nothing, but it’s also the tipping point that makes everything worse.

In early August, President Trump said, "On background checks, we have tremendous support for really common sense, sensible, important background checks." But as of September, that has meant very little. President Trump referred to Aug. 31’s mass shooting as a "wicked attack," but did not reaffirm his support for new gun control laws.

Trump claimed he was the candidate best suited to opposing corruption. But corruption is the lifeblood of the Republican Party. Take Texas Republican Senator Schaefer. In the wake of yet another shooting, Schaefer took the chance to speak out about his opposition to universal background checks, red flag gun laws, bans on AR-15s and high-capacity magazines, and a mandatory gun buyback.

“None of these so-called gun-control solutions will work to stop a person with evil intent," Schaefer wrote in a string of tweets. He continued: "What can we do? YES to praying for victims. YES to praying for protection. YES to praying that God would transform the hearts of people with evil intent."

In other words: YES to political bribery, YES to indifference, YES to more senseless death. Ask yourself: is it your fault that America is the only country with this number of mass murders annually? Are you not praying hard enough?

Praying is doing nothing. It didn’t work in 2016 and it won’t work now. Praying for people won’t get their lives back. It won’t protect future victims.  

Schaefer claimed that the "root of the problem" is "Godless, depraved hearts.” How about this for godless and depraved? His party accepts millions of dollars in donations from the NRA annually to keep things the way they are—even when a staggering 89% of Americans support universal background checks.

Those who oppose gun control often say guns don’t kill people; people kill people. If that’s the case, good guys with guns won’t save people either. We need to save people.

One good guy with a gun can’t stop a mass shooter. Why? Because one good guy with a gun probably has a handgun he keeps in his home office. He can keep his home safe against a robber. But he isn’t there to protect our schools, our malls, our streets. Even if he was, our good guy’s handgun can’t pack the firepower of a machine gun.

The Second Amendment says this: 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 might not all fit on a bumper sticker, but that’s not a passage to skim read. The Second Amendment is a product of its time. In the 1700s, America was an occupied country, so people were against their country’s military. During this time, organized military meant the Redcoats.

Now, however, it’s 2019 and you have the right to a handgun. What you don’t have is an unlimited right to any kind and any number of them. Background checks diminish none of your rights. If you care enough to know that 283 mass shootings is deeply wrong, then you care enough to know that America is in dire need of gun control laws.

We’re desensitized to violence. We stare at screens all day and see Facebook posts about shooting after shooting and shrug our shoulders and say, That’s life. But does this life seem like a good one for your children and grandchildren? I can’t see how. I see a violent, heartless place where greed outweighs decency any day. And that sounds like a dystopia to me.

We’re staring down the barrel on this one. What happens when there are two shootings a day? How about ten? You can’t tell me waiting for the day we stop bothering counting is a better option.

You might not be around that long.

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Despite being born New Jersey, I’m kind of a big deal. Thankful for the meaningful things in my life, like Sufjan Steven lyrics and pasta.