Recently it seems like all I hear about are shootings and the lives lost because of them, so much so that when someone asks, “Did you hear about the shooting?” I have to ask “Which one?”. A shooting in Dallas just last week sparked even more tensions between the police and the Black Lives Matter movement. Many have been pointing fingers at the movement for being the shooter’s motivation to kill the white officers, but in a later statement he claimed he had no affiliation with the group and was, in fact, upset with it. Still, the blame game continues: if you’re for the police, you are against racial equality and if you’re for the Black Lives Matter movement, you hate cops. However, as "The Daily Show" host Trevor Noah states in a recent video, this does not (and should not) need to be the case.
The main issue behind all of these shootings is, obviously, guns. Yes: the United States has a gun problem (or, as this highly informative and well-cited video by Vox tells us, several). Whether it's suicide, homicide, mass shootings, or police brutality the United States is going to have higher rates of gun-related violence than any other developed country. And yes, the population differences between us and those countries has been accounted for, so that argument is invalid.
I am not writing this to say that we should get rid of all guns forever and ever until the end of time. I am trying to say that we definitely need to put more restrictions on who can get a gun and what kinds of guns you're able to get. I'm sick of seeing videos of elementary schools and peaceful protests getting shot up because this country won't vote for simple fixes like stricter background checks and required safety training. I suppose that owning an assault rifle to impress your friends is more important than the life of the kindergartner next door.
It isn't just children that are in danger either. Gun violence often springs from prejudice and anger, such as the bigotry that motivated a Florida man to enter Pulse night club and murder close to fifty LGBT+ people, many of whom were people of color (mainly Latinx). Black men and women and children are killed day in and day out by police officers, even when they have done everything right in an arrest and do not resist as they are pinned to the ground (see Alton Sterling). And now, as I stated in the beginning of this article, white police officers have been killed by snipers in Dallas. We cannot pin the issue of guns on a single group of people and now, after Dallas, it has become clear that regardless of age, sex, race, or sexuality, you are not truly safe in this country. And no amount of guns is going to change that.