16 years after the Columbine High School massacre in which 13 students were slaughtered, it has happened again at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. 10 are dead and people aren't even shocked. We can't just accept this, we need to make guns harder to get! Do you agree?
When two teenagers stalked through the hallways and classrooms of Columbine High and shot 13 of their classmates to death on April 20, 1999, Americans vowed that this would never happen again. But 16 years later, after multiple school and college shootings, 33 massacred at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, three shot near the University of California, Santa Barbara, and 26 little children and teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, it has just happened again at Umpqua Community College on Oct. 1.
10 families have been plunged into deep mourning for their precious sons and daughters, who went off to college full of hope about their futures, only to have had their lives extinguished in the blink of an eye. Their families will be asking: Why? Why did this happen? And that's the question that we all have to ask ourselves -- why are mass shootings at schools and even churches a regular occurrence today?
Tragically, horrific massacres at the hands of angry, disaffected gunmen occur so frequently now that they aren't even shocking anymore. As Ben Dreyfuss pointed out in an article for Mother Jones: "16 Years After Columbine, How 'Never Again' Became 'Oh, Well' -- Welcome to America, the land of blue jeans, rock and roll, and sporadic meaningless mass murder." The fact that Americans can be "oh well" about the senseless deaths of 10 students, is a huge tragedy in itself.
The NRA has done such a bang up job of seducing and intimidating politicians into opposing ANY stricter gun controls that it appears that there is barely a political fight left to enact sensible national restrictions on super easy gun sales, like background checks for gun buyers, short waiting periods between multiple gun purchases and restrictions on gun sales to people with a history of mental illness or domestic abuse.
As Paul Martinez said on Twitter: "After the Columbine shootings in 1999, the nation stood still to mourn. We've become so numb to these things by now that life just rolls on." Echoed JC Emery: "It saddens me that we treat these shootings with so much indifference. This is worse then Columbine and it's treated like a common event now."
We Need Sensible Gun Laws To Prevent Future Shootings
Wayne LaPierre, the Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, always insists that "the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun", but that is completely ridiculous. You can't have armed guards outside the door of every classroom, patrolling every college campus at 20-foot intervals, or surrounding every church in the country. Every other American would have to be a patrolman armed with a semi-automatic weapon.
Furthermore, even if students at Umpqua Community College were armed, they would only have ended up in a shootout with the deranged shooter, Chris Harper Mercer, who attacked on campus, and even more students could be killed in the crossfire. Living under siege, armed to the teeth, is not the answer. Sensible gun laws are. This doesn't mean taking guns away from law-abiding citizens. But why should it be easier to get a gun than a driver's license?
Multiple studies have shown that countries with higher gun ownership have higher rates of firearm-related deaths. "The U.S. has the highest gun ownership rate and also has the highest rate of firearm-related deaths," said Dr. Sripal Bangalore, who published a study on the subject in the American Journal of Medicine in 2013. It doesn't have to be this way. For your information, there have been 45 shootings at schools so far this year!
Surely, responsible gun owners can support sensible gun laws that make it harder for angry, disturbed killers like Dylann Roof in Charleson, or Vester Flanagan, who killed two Virginia reporters on air, to get guns. 13 families don't need to be devastated by the loss of their loved ones tonight -- do they?