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Letter to the Editor: Gun violence deserves our anger and action

Scene from 'Surviving an Active Shooter.' Credit: Courtesy of The Ohio State University - Administration & Planning

Scene from ‘Surviving an Active Shooter.’ Credit: Courtesy of The Ohio State University – Administration & Planning

Last Thursday I watched a video entitled “Surviving an Active Shooter,” a theatrical, high-budget short film created by Ohio State in conjunction with the OSU police department. In the film, a gunman is shown entering an academic building on campus and proceeds to pull out a handgun and fire at innocent students and faculty. The video, while informative, truly made me realize how desperately and pathetically this country is struggling to find a reactive solution to a problem that should be handled proactively.

Minutes after watching this terrifying video, I read the first news article about the community college shooting in Roseburg, Oregon. Another school, another town, another 10 lives with hopes, dreams and futures cut short.

As I read the breaking news stories covering the shooting, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmingly angry. Sad, yes. But as President Barack Obama so accurately stated in his speech following the massacre, “Our thoughts and prayers are not enough.”

I am sad for the victims and families that were affected by this and every mass shooting. But my sadness is absolutely worthless in the face of senseless murder. My sadness will not prevent another 10 people from dying at the hands of a coward with a weapon. But my anger might.

So let it be known that I am angry that I live in a country where multiple military-grade assault rifles can be obtained by a mentally ill murderer. I am angry that the United States of America has had 133 mass shootings in which four or more victims were killed in the past 14 years, the most of any developed country in the world. I am angry that I live in a country where defense against terrorism is taken so seriously that I have to be X-rayed to get on a plane, but an armed murderer can waltz into an elementary school and kill dozens of children with weapons that were purchased in this very country.

I am angry, and I am scared. I am scared to sit in my lecture halls, because our academic buildings are not locked. I am scared to sit in a movie theater, because those doors aren’t locked either. I am scared to go to church, because church doors are always open. At what point will we realize that locking our doors will not stop evil from entering them?  At what point will we realize that making educational videos will not save our lives? At what point will we realize that we shouldn’t have to prepare for these situations?

No matter what gun advocates may say, guns do kill people. Guns were created to kill. Yes, a gun sitting on a table does not fire itself, but a person standing in a doorway unarmed is incapable of mass murder. So let’s stop bickering over the chicken-and-egg argument and start making change.

Gun violence is no longer an issue that we can sweep under our doorsteps. It is an epidemic that we must stop by implementing stronger common sense gun laws that prevent people with mental illnesses (associated with homicidal tendencies) or criminal histories from getting their hands on guns. Period. We need to change our nation’s stance on gun ownership as a right to as a privilege, a privilege that must be earned and that can be taken away.

When we finally stop reacting to gun violence and start proactively preventing gun violence, we will all be safer. Until this is done, I will remain angry, and I urge my fellow classmates to consider their own safety as a student in this country. Watch the OSU gun safety video. Ask yourself if learning how to survive an active shooter was something that you wanted to be taught in college. This is our generation’s burden to bear; let’s stop being sad and get something done about it.

Katie Wilson is a third-year in strategic communication at Ohio State.

5 comments

  1. Don't Tread on Me

    “We need to change our nation’s stance on gun ownership as a right to as a privilege, a privilege that must be earned and that can be taken away.”

    So you’re advocating that we throw out a right codified in the Bill of Rights ad hoc? That is exactly the type of tyranny that the founders feared.

    I’ll keep my gun and my free state, thank you.

    • The Bill of Rights was written at a time where muskets were the type of gun people could buy. People couldn’t go on mass killing sprees with a musket because it took nearly 15 seconds to reload. So ad hoc, I don’t see the trouble with this since the times have changed.

      Besides, I think you are completely missing the point of this article. The point is not for us to altogether abandon the second amendment, but rather to redefine it as a privilege for those who are sane and have no criminal or mental health problem history. 8 of the past 15 mass shootings have been committed by people with criminal histories and documented mental health issues, so 8 of these mass shootings could have been prevented by this article’s argument. This means about 50 innocent hearts would still be beating and the hearts of countless friends and family would not be broken.

      If you are a perfectly sane person, then you may keep your gun. However, you can’t honestly support the idea that you would allow a criminal to purchase one and then kill you or your family while you are going about your typical day.

  2. Your anger is misdirected. Gun violence is actually declining, in spite of more guns being available. Actually, in states with more guns, there is less gun violence. Which brings me to the main point. Almost all, 92%, of these mass shootings have taken place in so-called Gun Free Zones. They are not gun free for the perps. They target these areas specifically because they are advertised as places where people are sitting ducks, unable to protect themselves. This is the national disgrace. Your anger should be directed to policies, well-intentioned, that lead to tragic results, unintended consequences, if you will.

  3. The Bill of Rights was written at a time where muskets were the type of gun people could buy. People couldn’t go on mass killing sprees with a musket because it took nearly 15 seconds to reload. So ad hoc, I don’t see the trouble with this since the times have changed.

    Besides, I think you are completely missing the point of this article. The point is not for us to altogether abandon the second amendment, but rather to redefine it as a privilege for those who are sane and have no criminal or mental health problem history. 8 of the past 15 mass shootings have been committed by people with criminal histories and documented mental health issues, so 8 of these mass shootings could have been prevented by this article’s argument. This means about 50 innocent hearts would still be beating and the hearts of countless friends and family would not be broken.

    If you are a perfectly sane person, then you may keep your gun. However, you can’t honestly support the idea that you would allow a criminal to purchase one and then kill you or your family while you are going about your typical day.

  4. The Supreme Court ruled in the Heller decision that gun ownership is a right. It is stated as a right in the Bill of Rights. If you want it to be a privilege, you are going to need a constitutional amendment.

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