Thousands of people in America are shot in murders, assaults or by police intervention each year. And in recent years, this figure has skyrocketed, making gun violence a serious issue, and this is why it has been addressed in party platforms of major politicians and political parties. On their platform, the GOP writes they believe that the second amendment right to bear arms should not be infringed, but higher levels of security and armed personnel in public areas may be beneficial. On the other hand, the Democrats believe that laws and policies should be enacted to restrict some gun freedoms to prevent mass shootings. But what have these parties said to address the victims of these shootings? That's just it: nothing.
The people involved in these violent events are forgotten or dehumanized. Instead, these events as a whole promote certain politicians, parties or policies — especially during elections. All you see after a mass shooting are politicians fighting to pass their own reforms while the victims of the shooting are left to the side. If you think about it, there is no political testament in the Constitution to stop gun violence. Politicians use these events as justification to gain authority over matters that are not under their jurisdiction. For example, where in the Constitution does it mention the gun background checks that the Democrat Brady Bill advocates for? Nowhere, but the Democrats are able to push for it in light of the recent shootings, gaining support from citizens who are eager to take action to prevent future violence. Using these tactics to gain support turns victims and their families into stepping stones used to advocate for their policies.
This isn't one sided. In regard to the Sandy Hook shooting, Republican lobbyist and Executive Vice President of the National Rifle Association, Wayne Lapierre said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” He proposed armed personnel at every school or other public areas with their full second amendment gun rights, because he believes that this extra security is what will prevent those bad shooters, rather than background checks.
These shootings and others happening across the country give politicians more authority because people are vulnerable and feel lost. Politicians take advantage of this feelings and wield them to their advantage, pitching policies that seem like they would work, and the people who are desperate to prevent these occurrences quickly jump on board with the politicians policies.
In this way, we also kind of encourage this dehumanization. When a politician makes general statements about these shootings, they may garner support, which encourages them to keep making these statements and sharing their views. The reason why most politicians and we, too, can overlook the individual victims of these tragic mass shootings is simply because we don’t personally know these people and their stories. They are lumped together as just more ammunition politicians can use to back up their policies, and for us, they seem to be justification or reasons of why we should or shouldn't support certain gun policies or politicians, but this is morally wrong. Who are we to belittle the suffering of others?
Hopefully, with more involvement of politicians and insightful information into the minds of the people, we can take into account the victims and their families of these shootings so that they are more than just ammunition for policies; they are humans with real-life struggles and deserve to be treated as such.