A year ago, my cousin's husband was murdered while at work, along with a co-worker. The weapon used to commit the double homicide? A shotgun purchased at 4:15 p.m. on the day of the murders from a pawnshop in town. The perpetrator asked for the cheapest shotgun and paid $145 for it.

$145 to take the life of two men who had families and loved ones.

On March 15, 2019, I saw news reports of a hate-fueled mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand. At least 49 people were killed and 20 seriously injured in two mosques. It brought to mind all of the places of worship that have been targeted in recent years. In October 2018, a hate crime occurred in Pittsburgh, Pennslyvania, at a Jewish synagogue, leaving eleven dead and six injured. In November 2017, a gunman killed 26 people at a small Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Nine people died in 2015 at an African Methodist Episcopal church after a shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

This list could go on and on. Shootings at schools, malls, movie theaters, concerts; almost any public place you can imagine. Many of them are based on racial or religious discrimination.

The New Zealand shooting also reminded me of a crime I will never forget: the hate-crime committed against Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, and her sister Razan Abu-Salha. They were killed in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in February 2017, for no reason other than their race, their religion, and a dispute over a parking spot. As all three of them were leaders in their schools and communities, a foundation has been set up in their honor in the hopes of bringing awareness to and ending implicit racial biases.


Dena Takruri on Instagram: “Today is the fourth anniversary of the tragic murders of Deah, Yusor and Razan, aka #OurThreeWinners. They were killed in their own home in…”

Another name I will never forget, Eve Carson. She was the student body president at UNC-Chapel Hill who was shot and killed in March 2008. Gun violence happens every day in our communities and leaves a lasting impact on all of us, whether we realize it or not.

I'm not going to lie. My favorite kinds of shows are crime dramas, real or fiction. Guns and gun violence are prominent in some of my favorite shows, and some of my favorite characters use them with no hesitation. We, as fans, know these images impact us. In film and TV, a weapon — most often, a gun — is the equalizer, the thing that gives you the power to turn the tables on all those things holding you back.

Gun violence is prevalent, not only in entertainment but also in reality. Yet so far, a tragedy of this nature has yet to break the hold that the gun seems to have over American culture.

Calle 13 - La Bala www.youtube.com

I'm not here to try to force my personal opinion on you. But I think we should ask ourselves questions.

Why do states impose 'waiting periods' for abortions, but not for gun purchases? Why can a man just walk into a store and walk out with a cheap gun that he will use later that day to destroy lives?

Why are there so many hate crimes and such a blatant disregard for life?

We are so overloaded with information on a daily basis that it's starting to blur together. These things keep happening because we just keep arguing about it and then forgetting about it. They say those who don't learn from their past are doomed to repeat it...and sadly, we aren't doing enough today to make the world a better place in the future.