It was June 12, early in the morning. Everything was normal. Everything was good. No one expected it. And then, in an instant, the lives of dozens of people were changed forever.
The Orlando shooting has been called the worst terrorist attack on the U.S. since 9/11 and the worst mass shooting to ever occur in our country. In the week that has followed, there’s been an outcry from the public for change. “No more,” people say. “This needs to stop." Countless numbers of statements, articles and videos have been released in response to the attack. It’s a beautiful thing to see people banding together in the wake of such an awful tragedy, demanding action to be taken, but there is one thing that is holding us back –--exactly what kind of change are we asking for?
The definition of “change” is “the act or instance of making or becoming different.” I think it’s easy to see that we all want something to be different, so attacks like this never happen again. But what are we asking to become different? How do we fix this problem, assure ourselves that it’s gone once and for all?
One very popular viewpoint that I’ve seen and heard all over TV, the Internet and day-to-day conversations is that we need to do something about the gun laws -- specifically, that we need more regulations. People are infuriated that the shooter (whose name has already been mentioned on the news one too many times) was able to legally get his hands on guns, despite previous run-ins with the FBI. While yes, I do agree that people such as him should never be allowed to buy weapons and that background checks should be much more in-depth and reinforced, I do not believe that guns are the absolute, essential reason why forty-nine people died that Sunday morning.
The main problem is character, specifically evil character. The phrase, “Guns don’t kill, people do,” has been said many times over the last few years, and I know a lot people aren’t very fond of it. Still, it’s true, 100 percent. Someone needs to pull the trigger for the gun to go off. Sometimes, the intent is evil. But, other times, it is purely out of a need for self-defense, or even just a love for target practice. There is nothing wrong with an even-headed, sane person with no evil motives to own a gun, and people have recognized this since the day that the Second Amendment was ratified. It is only because of evil that we have “gun control problems” in the U.S. today.
Sometimes, gun violence is domestic, sometimes it is used in robberies, you name it. But in the Orlando shooting, specifically, gun violence was used by the evil we call terrorism. A man pledged his allegiance to ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and committed the worst of crimes. If he hadn’t decided to lead the life of a terrorist, the Orlando shooting would have never occurred, even if he had owned guns. It is only because of the evil that was inside of him that this happened at all.
If you ask me and my unpopular opinion, the main problem we have on our hands here is that of terrorism. We’ve let things slide for too long, calling ISIS a “JV team” and allowing them to wreak their havoc on the world. And now, they’ve taken the lives of 49 innocent people and forever changed the lives of the dozens that were injured, as well as the hundreds of friends and family members. This is what must change. America needs to take action instead of sitting idly back. Politicians need to work out a plan to defeat ISIS once and for all instead of using the shooting for personal promotion. And mostly, we need to honor the fallen, and take care of those loved ones they left behind.
Evil will never leave this world. In order to rid ourselves of some of it, we need to enforce background checks more heavily. We need to let only the good, right-minded people have guns. But this will not take care of all of America’s problems, and it will certainly not end terrorist attacks. Those who want to hurt us will always find a way to do so, even when they can’t get their hands on a gun. Just think about the Boston bombing.
In order to protect ourselves as much as possible, we need to take a stand and fight back. Defeating ISIS is only the beginning. Until that day, it is important to remember…
Guns don’t kill. People do.