I was counting down the minutes until 4:00 when I was off work today when I got a text from my mom. She began with “Hey Allie,” and I knew she was either mad at me or something was wrong. She told me my sister had gone to the mall earlier with a friend and that there was a shooter. There was no suspect in custody and my sister’s phone was on low battery. I barely made it through the text without feeling something I have only felt a handful of times in my life. Panic. And even though my mom said she was probably going to be fine, my hands were shaking and my eyes were filling with tears.
I don’t think about losing loved ones very often because I don’t let myself. When those thoughts bombard your mind, feelings also force their way in that we try to avoid, too. The panic never completely settled, but that emotion was quickly replaced with anger. Not even a minute later I was pacing around my office asking myself why gun control is STILL even a question in this country.
If you don’t like what you’re reading and find yourself arguing with me already, I kindly ask that you close this window and move on with your day.
Of the countless shootings over the last several years, some have hit a little too close to home. There was the Charleston Church Massacre, that took place literally 5 miles from my house. My city is still grieving and healing from that one. The Orlando Night Club shooting happened miles from where my best friend lives. Thank God she happened to be safe with me in Charleston that night. And yet, those sobering events pale in comparison to what it feels like to actually have a sibling inside a building where an active shooter is. Every shooting makes me angrier and angrier, to hear people still vying for gun rights because they don’t want a privilege taken away.
We’re so privileged here in America, aren’t we? We can say whatever we want, buy whatever we want, shoot whoever we want, and everyone just turns their head. If you’re lucky, when you shoot up a building you get a ton of publicity and even a little bio in all the newspapers before they send you to prison. We’re so worried about Mexicans finding new homes here, but not so much about innocent people’s lives being taken on a regular basis.
I love hearing gun control arguments, because they always sound like a five-year-old arguing with their mom about why they should be able to eat cake for breakfast.
“OH YEA? Well…saying that guns kill people is like saying that forks make people fat.” That’s right, good job. Oh, except that typically people feed themselves…so this comparison would only work if we were referring to a form of torture where a human is force-fed until they die. They don’t want that fork full of food, or a gun full of bullets, someone ELSE is deciding their fate. When you put food in your mouth, that’s your decision.
How ’bout this one, “NOT UH! You can’t take away my constitutional rights! I am ENTITLED to a gun!” Nothing entitles you to a weapon. Just because I am “entitled” to an hour-long lunch break every day doesn’t mean that I deserve it or that I should take it. Just like how you don’t deserve to carry a glock into a mall or movie theater just because a centuries-old document said you could defend yourself. The constitution was written over two hundred years ago when mass shootings weren’t increasing with time. (Check out the data here. Numbers don’t lie.) People get so butt-hurt about this, and it’s because they’re SELFISH. I want a gun. I deserve it. I need to defend myself. It’s my right. Guess what, this isn’t about you! You’re not the mass murderer! This is about taking guns away from crazy people so they don’t kill our families. Get it?
And my favorite one, “OYEAHWELL! If you ban guns people will still find ways to get them, just like drugs.” Also true. But don’t you think that if guns were illegal, and Joe Shmoe couldn’t go to the store and buy one, and then take it with him wherever he goes, that there would be less mass shootings? Kind of like how drugs are pretty hard to find, unless you’re sketchy and addicted and are willing to go the distance to find them, guns would be pretty hard to find if they were also illegal. Sure, some people would still have them, illegally. But this article says that majority of guns used in mass shootings are LEGALLY purchased. In fact, over three times the number of illegally obtained guns. That’s hundreds of lives that could have been saved had that person not been able to legally purchase a gun.
Point being, any logical person should see that as our country grows and changes over the years, maybe our rules should, too. And maybe you won’t understand that until it’s YOUR sister, or YOUR daughter, or son, or whoever, who’s trapped in a dressing room in a mall with an active shooter on the loose. Maybe then along with all the terrible thoughts and feelings that surface, your brain will start working, too.
My sister is safe, and no one was injured at the mall today. I am so thankful this won’t be part of the statistics. But it’s time things change.