End the gun control debate

February 21, 2018


With the recent death of 17 people at the hands of an armed assailant in Florida, the time to end the gun debate is now. 
This isn’t a call for heightened gun control or even a call for the most minor improvements in policy changes to make purchasing firearms harder. It’s a call for gun control advocates to realize that no number of dead children will ever change the minds of policymakers who control gun right laws.
Truthfully, this debate ended six years ago when a gunman murdered 20 students ages six to seven at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Since that shooting, Congress passed zero gun-control laws, despite conservative fears that President Obama would round up every gun in America and maybe melt them into participation trophies for millennials. 
Again, I thought maybe there would be some movement on the gun control debate when a shooting at a Las Vegas concert resulted in 59 deaths and 527 injuries, but, yet again, the deaths came and went, and nothing changed. 
The same talking points came out: mental health issues and healthcare coverage, plus “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” 
Well, background checks are run on people, but conservative lawmakers still find that to be an infringement on our God-given right to own a sick-ass machine gun. 
I thought the church shooting that killed 26 people in a rural town in Texas would actually make some change in the national stance on gun control, yet this one was so quickly in and out of the news cycle that you may have forgotten about it. 
The one where dozens of people were gunned down with a military grade weapon by a troubled white male with mental health issues. Should I be more specific? 
With the recent Florida shooting, I finally realized the entire debate is worthless. Unless the victims can make Republicans’ bank accounts go up like the National Rifle Association can, I don’t think anything will change. 
Given that the victims are often poor and most times dead, I doubt that will happen. 
I can sit here and list argument after argument about why gun control works. I can talk about how Australia once had similar gun laws to the United States but, after a devastating mass shooting, the country implemented a multitude of nationwide gun control laws. 
Australia now holds a firearm homicide rate of 1.4 deaths per one million people. The U.S. has a rate of 29.7 per one million. 
But that politicizes the tragedy, which Republicans like Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan certainly do not want us to do. We need to look at underlying causes for this violence, like better mental healthcare for this country. 
Republican lawmakers also want to slash funding and regulation for healthcare, so maybe talking about that is politicizing the issue too. 
Maybe we can talk about how the shootings in this country relate to a lack of education in the United States, which ranks 17th in education performance. After all, the NRA itself believes better education about gun control would solve the problem. We run into the same problem though, because Republicans want to slash the education budget, so talking about it is politicizing the issue. 
Maybe the issue is the disgusting wealth disparity in America, leaving the poor and the disappearing middle class feeling abandoned and helpless. 
The top one percent of wealthy families in America control twice the amount of wealth the bottom 90 percent control. The ones at the bottom can find their answers in radicalization, in violence. Would the ones at the bottom feel nearly as hopeless if this wealth was more evenly redistributed from the top? Don’t worry, that trickle-down wealth will get here any day now. 
The only real answer you will get from Republican lawmakers is that there is nothing we can do about it. So why try? 
Like the Onion article that gets reprinted every time we have a mass shooting, we’re the only nation where this happens, yet there's nothing we can do about it. 
This article prints almost a full week after the Florida shooting, so it will probably already out of the news cycle. 
Maybe President Trump will say something derogatory about some other rich celebrity and that will become the new 24-hour topic. The victims will be shuffled out for another new batch of victims in a month or two when there’s another mass shooting in America. 
We can do this whole debate again when that happens, but if this massacre doesn’t change things, what will? 

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