It is a somber time to be an American. Rights are about to be taken away from us, and lobbied interests are being upheld over the people’s will. This week, yet another installment of children being mowed down by an AR-15 in school occurred, and one can’t help but wonder why. For years, there has been mass shooting after mass shooting, and the only answer that the government can seem to come up with is to release “thoughts and prayers” into the atmosphere when the words that the people are looking to see from it are “policy and change.”
In lieu of common-sense gun policies like universal background checks and banning assault weapons from the streets of the United States, 50 Republican senators continue to find every nominal excuse in the book outwardly while simultaneously taking hush money from the NRA. The common argument that a “good guy with a gun” will save the day rendered a statistic out of 21 lives this week in my home state of Texas—and it is disgraceful. Yet, people will still fight tooth-and-nail to keep their assault weapons for ostensibly delusional reasons, like the notion that they’d provide utility to citizens in case the government turns to “tyranny” (which is ironic considering that it has).
There is, however, a saving grace in all of this. The U.S. is not the only developed country on this planet that has dealt with this epidemic. Fortunately, there is a comparative lens one can utilize to ascertain what viable remedies exist. Many other countries have dealt with the shock engendered by something of this magnitude, but the difference is that their governments said “never again”—except they actually meant it. Over 25 other countries have stricter gun laws than those of the United States. Now, there is an argument that the history of the U.S. is so intricately rooted in gun ownership that more guns are the answer. It is simple to see how one could honestly believe that’s a founded argument. Still, out of the countries with stricter gun laws, five held similar cultural attitudes toward guns that conceived laws to uphold the lives of their citizens: Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Norway. Each one moved to tighten gun laws—and the result of fewer mass shootings is confirmed in droves of studies.
Since 2009, there have been 288 school shootings in the U.S. alone and 45 in the following 26 countries (including the aforementioned five) combined. There have been 212 mass shootings of any kind in the U.S. this year alone. So yes, something must be done; the blood of Americans is on the hands of the ‘pro-life’ politicians accepting NRA money while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the massacres of the very children that they claim to protect so dearly. Therein this country does not need ‘thoughts and prayers.’ It requires policy and change—or your child could end up a statistic of needless violence.