Mass Shootings

One of a number of terrible crises currently taking place in the US is the regularity of mass shootings. It seems like every day the top story is the latest mass shooting that has just occurred. These shootings are a phenomenon that must be addressed and remedied. However, there is enormous disagreement regarding the root causes of the phenomenon and as a result, there are no agreed-upon actions that people believe will solve the issue. In the wake of each shooting, debates surrounding the identification of their cause often end inconclusively; however, many agree that it is one of a number of problems. These include bullying, Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, violent first-person shooter video games, our healthcare system’s inadequate care for the mentally ill, the ability for hate groups to find community on the Internet, and our country’s relatively lax gun laws.  I personally think all of these issues are problems that need solving. Bullying is a terrible thing that the education system should take additional steps to combat. Our president shouldn’t be scapegoating groups of people as the cause of our country’s complex problems. Game development companies should probably invest more in non-violent video games and figure out why those aren’t more popular. We need to identify mental illness early on and figure out better ways to treat it. We need to continue monitoring hate groups online and preventing them from continuing to spread. These are all great ideas; however, it’s highly unlikely that one or any combination of these could fully eradicate mass shootings. While these causes all might be partially responsible for some of the shootings that have taken place, the root problem is ultimately the fact that the culprits had access to guns. Without a gun, the most schizophrenic, racist, Fortnite player out there would never be able to successfully carry out a mass shooting. It seems like the most effective immediate action would be taking steps to eradicate guns. It’s unclear whether or not this could actually be accomplished; however, our government is making no attempt to try and is even continuing to allow guns to be sold, likely due at least in part to the influence of the NRA. The inaction that follows each shooting is one of the most tragic parts of each one. Owning a gun is an enormous responsibility and I am really starting to doubt it is one that humanity can handle and I think our government is irresponsible for its continued permissiveness.

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