By Aaron Simmons
In light of the recent mass shootings, here are my final thoughts.
I am filled with immense sorrow after the news of what happened in Las Vegas. It should never happen anywhere or on any scale, but it continues to. God bless those who rose to the occasion and saved lives; the police officers, first responders, hospital staff and those who gave blood. Tragedy truly does bring out the best in us.
Now, I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I am human. Taking away all of your guns is not my goal. I just want to present some facts.
- Since the Orlando shooting, almost 600 people have been killed and almost 2,200 people have been injured in mass shootings alone. In 477 days, there have been 521 shootings. (New York Times)
- 29.7 firearm homicides per million in the United States. The next highest is Switzerland at 7.7. (UNODC, Small Arms Survey)
- The US plays home to 42 percent of the world’s civilian-owned guns. (UNODC, Small Arms Survey)
- Over 96 percent of firearm suicide attempts are successful, as opposed to 5.1 percent with cutting. (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health)
- Between 1983 and 2013, 66 percent of the world’s mass shootings occurred in the United States. (The Conversation/CC-BY)
Believe me. I know the vast majority of gun owners abide by the law and are 100 percent responsible. This is not some deep-rooted vendetta against gun ownership and taking away your second amendment right.
This is about facts. This is about realizing what is actually happening in this country and what we can realistically do about it. This is about trying to minimize the chances of early and tragic deaths.
I like to think of us all as a team working together as one. The American Dream Team.
Growing up, I learned one of the most important parts of being on a team is accountability.
If Greg was late to practice, or if Tom mouthed off to a coach, the rest of us had to run sprints. I was not a fan of it, but I understood. It was the sacrifice I had to make to right my teammate’s wrong to settle the situation.
Well, we are now in a time where there have been wrongs happening over and over across this great country I call home, and nobody has had to reconcile the mistakes. I truly believe the time to act is now.
When 9/11 took place, what was one of the first things done? Bolstering airport security. There was a problem, and it was fixed, swiftly.
The same should be done now.
I’m concerned for my brother’s life, who may accidentally be in the wrong place at the wrong time over the next few years. I am concerned for my parents’ lives, who have both been educators for over 20 years and are in harm’s way every day they step in the classroom.
I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned for my life. I attend music festivals. I attend university. I go to clubs on the weekends. Being at a mass shootings is well within the realm of possibility, and it scares the crap out of me.
I shouldn’t have to be on alert in every public gathering downtown, but I am.
I shouldn’t have to constantly scan the crowd for any sign of havoc when I’m at a concert, but I do.
I shouldn’t be able to tell you what items in our classroom could be used as self-defense in an active shooter situation, but I can.
We shouldn’t have to do these things, but I would bet I’m not the only one that does.. That’s tragic.
We need to live our lives without. Our whole lives.
We need to take action.