Turning on the radio or television to hear the news is becoming a dangerous thing in the United States of America. While there is no risk of immediate physical trauma, there is the advanced risk of heartache, usually accompanied by a sense of disbelief. Could this really have happened again? How has this not been stopped? These questions are two among many that are present in the minds of many when they hear, time after time, about the instances of gun violence and the refusal of the powers that be to do anything significant to curb the never-ending shootings that have become a part of American life. So many lives have been reduced to faceless figures on a statistics sheet. The second amendment of the United States constitution is used again and again as an excuse to let the madness continue. The divided opinions of high ranking government officials, the unnerving influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA), and the inaccurate media portrayals concerning instances of gun violence have served to unnecessarily complicate the easily solvable issue of gun control.
Guns, and their use, are tightly woven into the fabric of American society. This has been the case since the founding of the nation. The revolutionary war which led to the birth of America would not have been won if the initial patriots were not expert wielders of muskets and other predecessors of modern guns. This role of guns in the founding of the country doubtlessly led to the inclusion of the right to own firearms as the second amendment to the U.S. constitution. This constant use of firearms and force throughout American history make it very difficult for most people to imagine what the country would be like if the use of guns was better regulated. In other words, Americans and their guns are so tightly bound that removing guns from the equation would be equivalent to removing a part of one’s body.
Though there has always been some argument about the constant use of firearms to settle disputes that could easily be fought out with a pen and paper, the issue of gun control exploded onto the political and public scene in late 2012 after the sandy hook school shooting. Patricia Mazzei, a writer for the New York Times, speculates that this school shooting is cemented in the minds of many Americans because of the large number of casualties, as well as the age of these casualties. Most of those killed during that school shooting were children.
Unfortunately, sandy hook was not the end. Rather, it seems that the way the government handled, and the media portrayed, this shooting gave other individuals with similar plans the courage they needed to step out of the shadows and perform their own monstrous acts. From the time of the sandy hook shooting to November 2014, there were approximately seventy-four incidences of gun-based mass violence in the U.S with locations including schools, nightclubs, music concerts, and churches (Mazzei). The number of lives lost slowly rising into the high hundreds. Despite this rising death toll, the U.S. government is trapped in a never-ending cycle which consists of a particularly gory incident inciting some members of the ruling power to propose solutions only to be shot down by those who cling to the second amendment (and their payoff from the NRA for clinging so whole-heartedly).
This unending cycle is no-doubt due to the heavy influence of the National Rifle Association in the workings of the American government. Many Americans fail to see how lucrative the gun business is. This failure to realize causes them to vehemently deny that the NRA is such a mighty power where the workings of American gun laws are concerned.
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