United States of Denial

United we stand, divided we fall?

United States of Denial

Arianna Heyman and Reilly Card

     In wake of the tragedy in San Bernardino, all Americans can agree on one statement, and that is, “another one?” Death due to gun violence is something US citizens have no reaction to anymore. This is a daily occurrence. Americans are not fazed when they turn on their local news and see a story about a murdered citizen. The reaction does come when there is a mass shooting, like in San Bernardino. A mass shooting involves four or more civilians who are killed. But now, our society is becoming numb to this too.

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     The United States is the capital of mass shootings, and has the most gun related deaths out of any other country in the world. “While the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population, it has 31% of all public mass shootings.” Jen Christensen, CNN writer. There have been 351 shootings in 331 days this year. Many say that gun control is the option, seeing as the United States has more guns than any other country in the world. There are an estimated 270 million to 310 million firearms in circulation in the United States. America also gives its people the ability to access guns very easily. In most of these mass shootings, the perpetrator has multiple weapons on them. Supporters of gun control feel that restrictions may help to lower the number of shootings.Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 10.48.11 PM


     So what can the US do about this problem? One option is to follow the example of other countries such as Britain, Australia, Finland, and Norway, who have changed their policies and experienced dramatic results. The Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, made drastic changes to gun laws just days after the Port Arthur Massacre that left 35 dead. After their policy changed, the risk of dying from gun violence decreased by 50%. Similarly, as a result of another massacre in 2007, Finland issued new laws which require gun owners to have been active members of a gun club for one year, and have their mental state checked by a doctor before purchasing a gun. Since these rules were put into place, Finland had a 30% decrease in gun violence in 2007 alone.

     Since the massacre in California, the issue of gun control is a topic being discussed frequently.“The gun-control advocacy group rates California’s gun laws No. 1 in the nation, and the state ranks 42nd in its rate of gun deaths. Louisiana’s gun laws were ranked 50th and it is No. 2 in deaths, according to the group’s 2014 rankings.” Juliet Williams and Don Thompson. Simply because we see one mass shooting in California, does not mean that gun control laws are not effective. The problem with gun laws in America is the inconsistency of them throughout the nation. The fact is, someone who may be unable to legally purchase a weapon in California, is very likely able to get one in another state. This allows guns to be purchased and transferred over state lines.   


     At what point do we all collectively say, “this is enough!” Our cities are surrounded by the threat of death by gun violence. Since 1982, there have been 72 mass shootings in 31 states. Every 12 months, more than 130,000 people are shot. There are many people who are fiercely protective of the second amendment, and many who are calling for more gun control. This argument has caused a major divide between citizens, and we are seeing the negative impacts of the arguing through the mind boggling numbers of casualties by guns each year. Something needs to change, the United States cannot continue to live in a state of denial any longer.