By Hallie Lauer | Layout Editor
In 2017, over 300 people have been killed in mass shootings and on average, there has been one major mass shooting every two months since 2010.
These numbers could end with Las Vegas. Our government has the capability to make this the last mass shooting in the United States and put a halt to these terrible statistics, but it won’t — not without persistence from the people.
How many memorial services, flags at half-staff and innocent lives lost will it take until something concrete is finally done? After all of the previously mentioned events, the ability to prevent any further shootings was there. Yet, we as a nation have not done anything substantial to prevent it happening again in the future.
The Onion ran an article after the tragedy with the headline “‘No Way to Prevent this’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens” and that headline, which makes readers want to laugh because it is true, also drives home a hard truth to accept. The United States is the only country with mass civilian shootings on such a wide scale and frequent level. The Onion has also published this very same article after every mass shooting for the past five years.
The Las Vegas Police Sheriff, Joseph Lombardo told CNN that “I don’t know how it could have been prevented.”
To me, the answer seems obvious: gun control.
People only call for gun control directly after an incident, but as the crime fades from the headlines, so does the people’s cry for change. They only take up their cry again when the next mass shooting happens.
I grew up in a rural town where almost everyone I knew owned some sort of gun for hunting. I am not against the Second Amendment. I am a big fan of the Constitution, and I will stand behind it. But we could do better. People have the right to bear arms, but we need to do better in terms of who can buy when and how they obtain those arms.
Germany, for example, is a country with one of the highest number of guns per capita, yet it’s most recent mass shooting was in 2009. America’s was four days ago.
The difference is that Germany is the only country that requires a psychiatric screening for anyone under the age of 25 attempting to buy a firearm. It also continues to tweak it’s gun control laws anytime there is an incident, so that repeat offenses are nearly impossible. Germany also doesn’t let its citizens own automatic weapons, and for good reason. I cannot fathom a logical explanation for why an everyday civilian needs any type of automatic firearm. Those are not guns someone uses to hunt deer. Automatic weapons are used to kill people.
Not only does the U.S. have loose gun control laws, we also aren’t learning anything from all these deaths. According to an online article done by Slate, since 1996, the U.S. has had a ban on federally funded research on injuries caused by firearms.
“Research on the epidemiology of who, why and how people die as a result of gun injuries in America has virtually vanished,” says the article. So, in essence, we aren’t preventing or learning from these terrible tragedies.
It has become so ingrained into our lives that we as Americans don’t even flinch when innocent people are gunned down. Sure, we post on Facebook about how our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. But in reality, we have become desensitized to it. We watch the videos and say, “This is horrible,” but we say it as if we are describing a scene from a fictional movie. This is not a good thing.
“If you aren’t outraged, then you just aren’t paying attention,” a quote by author Lisa Borden, was brought into the mainstream media by Heather Heyer before she was killed in the Charlottesville riots. It fits perfectly in consideration to the deadly shooting in Las Vegas.
So pay attention, because we have the capability to make sure this never happens again. Hold your representatives accountable for the lives of the people that elected them into office. In the 20 years I have been alive, I have seen the headline “The Most Deadly Shooting In U.S. History” three times, but we have the power to make this the last.