by Emma Saso
Since the day we stepped onto campus to begin this year’s fall semester, ten shootings have occurred at college campuses across the country.
Sacramento City College, Sacramento, California, Thurs., Sept. 3: One dead, two wounded. Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Oregon, Thurs., Oct. 1: Nine dead, nine wounded. Just a week ago, Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee, Thurs., Oct. 22: One dead, two wounded.
The disconcerting prevalence of college campus shootings in the US is undeniable, and brings to life the all-too-real concern that anywhere and at any point in time, anyone can pull out a weapon and open fire. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to feel confident in one’s own sense of security.
However, this unsettling reality we face with mass shootings is not consistent on an international basis. Although shootings do occur in other counties, they are incredibly less common due to differences in the way gun control, safety, and education are approached.
According to the studies of Jaclyn Schildkraut of the State University of New York and H. Jaymi Elsass of Texas State University, it was found that from the years 2000 to 2014, a total of 133 mass shootings occurred in the United States. When compared to statistics of shootings in other countries, such as France with one, Australia with two, Canada with three, and Germany with a high of six, this number is unprecedented and frightening, and demands immediate remediating action.
In President Obama’s address regarding the Roseburg, Oregon shooting of early Oct., he said, “Our thoughts and prayers are not enough to capture the heartache and grief and anger that we should feel and it does nothing to prevent this carnage from being inflicted someplace else in America; next week, or a couple of months from now.”
“The USA is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common sense gun safety laws even in the face of repeated mass killings,” Obama said.
The overwhelming majority of shooters obtain their weapons legally, which points clearly to the notion that we should be increasing our awareness of gun control issues and strengthening our gun safety measures. As of now, the screening processes for obtaining a weapon are far too lax, and thus facilitate the ability for someone with questionable morals and intentions to get their hands on a gun.
Our country is in dire need to realize the devastation being caused by our insistence upon the idea of the right to bear arms with no restrictions. We need restrictions. Take Australia for example, which in 1996 fell victim to a mass shooting in Port Arthur, Tasmania, that resulted in the death of 35 individuals and the injury of 23 more.
In the wake of the shooting, Australia did not simply sit back and express sentiments of sadness and loss, as has been a recurring patter in the US. Instead, in a matter of weeks following the incident, Australia took action by implementing a number of gun control measures, including a massive buyback of upwards of 600,000 guns from the public and the requirement of a legitimate reason to own a firearm.
And the most remarkable part? No events even close to the severity of the Port Arthur shooting have occurred since.
In recent years, mass shootings on college campuses and elsewhere have become increasing subjects of concern in the US. The American public is currently being held down by a paradigm of a constitutional right to freedom that people believe will be jeopardized with an increase in gun safety measures. This is not the case.
This paradigm, reinforced by bipartisan politics and the idealization of what it means to be “free” in our country, needs to be overcome in order to create a safe and reliable environment free from gun violence and mass shootings.