The Hard Truth About Gun Violence

There are people that believe owning guns is their constitutional right. There are people that believe all guns should be banned. There are people that believe only automatic guns should be banned for civilians. There are people that believe the root of mass shootings is mental health. There are people that believe they are rooted from hatred, and there are people that believe it is a combination. 

I can give you the facts and statistics on the mass shooters and the victims that have made recent headlines, but if those have not impacted your view on the matter, it is more than likely  that it won’t now, either. 

People are quick to send out tweets or posts about what they believe, but some of those people are the ones that are not registered to vote or do not go out on election days because it inconvencines them in their day. Or once they send out that tweet, they do not keep up with the news, or they forget that it even happened until they go to check their engagement on that post. 

The hard truth is, your opinion does not mean anything. The freedom of speech we are given is true, only so far as that we are able to speak. However, the freedom does not guarantee that we are heard. Without condemning the right to protest on  whatever side , I have come to unfortunate terms with the fact that sometimes what we say doesn’t matter — and that our hope can only be actualized with action, rather than words.

We say things that do not make a difference. We send out our “thoughts and prayers” whenever there is a shooting, but do those really make a difference? I am religious, and I do believe it is good to pray for those souls if that is what you believe. But those prayers are not going to stop another mass shooting. While you could be praying for the shootings to stop, there could be someone else praying for a certain race, religion, or culture to be stopped, sent “back to their country” or even for them to be dead. Different people have different hopes and ideas for how the country can be, and some of those ideas are scary and are absolutely wrong. 

Those tweets that are sent out, those Instagram stories, those are not really do anything. The only thing it does is spread awareness, which is amazing when it works. However, people have short attention spans, especially when it comes to the internet. You see one post regarding a mass shooting, but if the next Instagram story is of a cute dog, the shooting can be forgotten about or the seriousness is put aside. It is good to spread awareness, but while you can spread awareness, you cannot make people care, unfortunately. 

But you know what does do something? When you go out and vote. You vote for the legislature that you believe will make a difference in your community for the sake of what you want. 

Our freedom of speech does not guarantee that we are heard. However, we live in a rather successful democracy in comparison to other nations. All Americans need, and should, take advantage of that. 

Hannah KirkComment