Put the Pe(t)als to the Metal
Imagine hearing shots in your vicinity and not knowing where they are coming from, watching bodies next to you start to drop with no idea where the shooter is until it is too late. Sadly, this is not uncommon and is a monster in modern America due to the high accessibility of firearms in several states. In reality this happens way too frequently than it should, In fact before I even finished writing my essay another school fell victim to this monster. You can be next because nobody is invincible to guns, which is why they are so monstrous. The accessibility of weapons in the U.S. is a monster that produces many effects in society such as, the continuous incidents of mass shootings, countless murders and suicides, and public protests in countless forms. Unfortunately, these effects are caused by nothing except our own failure to analyze the causality of our situations. It is now a modern day civil war with one side being pro-gun and the other being pro-life.
Analyzing some statistics we can see that the casualty count due to legal firearms in the U.S. continues to fluctuate. From 2017-present there have been 370 mass shootings, and in the last 24 hours there has been at least 30 shootings (GVA). These numbers consider a mass shooting to be a shooting that includes 5 or more civilians. In all 370 cases this is true, some worse than others. The source in reference provides numerical data to back the claim that firearm accessibility is directly related to the number of casualties. Please consider that out of all the 2,150 total deaths by firearms (excluding suicides) almost 85% were caused by legally obtained guns to sum up roughly 7,839 total incidents. Among these incidents lies a number of mass shootings similar to the most recent Florida mass shooting that took place in Parkland, FL. Just looking at the past shows the horrific reliable numbers of how many people are directly affected by firearms, but that is the thing so many people choose to be ignorant and try to keep these numbers silent for personal reasons whatever they may be. The sad fact of the matter is none of these tragic events and moments of mass hysteria will spark any large movement in the anti-gun agenda because the political agenda seems to be nonchalant about this imminent threat.
After an event like a mass shooting occurs, protesters are constantly speaking about a change. The necessary cause for change is the problems caused by a high accessibility to firearms because in reality it is very simple to obtain a high caliber weapon. Steps such as acquiring a shooting range certificate can be done in as little as one hour. In addition to the hardships protesters already face such as, leaving their jobs, schools, families etc. They also face a new problem. Media censorship. As a result of management and booking companies hiring artists and actors to complete various acts of entertainment, celebrities aren’t necessarily allowed to publicize whatever they want. Censorship happens when the management company fears that if their client speaks out on an issue they will upset some of their fanbase. This is Childish Gambino’s new music video called This is America right off the bat I new it was a representation of the high accessibility and passion for guns in America and it does so very effectively using the imagery and sudden changes in tone such as when he goes from dancing and singing to executing someone. This video can be linked to Monster Thesis VII : The monster stands at the threshold of becoming because the abundance of guns in America is definitely a monster that we as a nation have created because of how high we value firearms in America. I am curious to see how the president responds to the message Childish Gambino is presenting along with other artists. I think he did a very good job at emphasizing how dangerous weapons really are as he wipes out a whole choir committee said to represent the church shooting that occurred in the past. In the end the gun debate boils down to one question, why are American citizens choosing to be blind to the studies that clear up this issue such as the wide range of articles explaining the effects accessibility to weapons bring forth. In the end of the day this country can easily (arguable) change the outcome of gun violence and countless mass shootings if they minimize the accessibility of firearms because the two are directly proportional. I am glad this monster is surfacing more and more because I would hate to be directly affected by gun violence as would everyone. It is very fortunate that a highly ranked celebrity like Donald Glover took a stance on the issue of gun violence by showing that in America people value weapons more than a person/person’s life. Hopefully a lot more artists take a similar approach with the mentality of, It is going to be hard, but we have to try! Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case for a large portion of the United States population which is why we as a nation must side with victims of gun violence in order to study the causality which inevitably leads to a reciprocal cause because the cycle keeps on reciprocating.
Taking a look at the effects of legal firearms in the U.S., data from the Department of Justice for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) we can see that as of early 2016, 10.8 million legally documented firearms were put into circulation by about 800 different companies. A chart in their article titled “ATF By the Numbers” reads …
…(ATF) By the time the next government conducted study rolls around I am estimating that these numbers will only increase the effects of weapon accessibility because we as a country are on a slippery slope in terms of legally obtained firearms being used in fatal crimes. In reality, no matter how well an agency claims to regulate a gun owner they can’t predict what is concurrently going on in their heads. It is almost certain that many violent offenders who use a firearm to wound or kill their victim were labeled as completely sane and clear during their background checks. Basically if you have a somewhat clean record you can own a weapon capable of causing mass casualties as soon as you come of age. The United States has a lot higher levels gun violence all other developed countries, which is a directly caused by the accessibility of weapons in the U.S.. To be blunt, Gun violence is a preventable public crisis and mental illness has a very weak role in gun violence despite misconceptions reflected in today’s media and government policy. With that being said, mental health isn’t significant enough for sources like the National Rifle Association (NRA) to deem as a leading cause of mass shootings and street gun violence. The fact of the matter is that there is too many firearms in circulation that can be legally acquired with the intent to cause mass casualties. The National Rifle Association continues to try and avoid tackling this eminent threat by distracting the world from the actual causality of these mass shootings. Just a few days ago spokesperson Dana Loesch and other members of the organization claimed that the cause of the Santa Fe, Texas school shooting that took place May 18, 2018 was school violence that Dimitrios Pagourtzis was involved in. Despite the organization’s claims they are just fallacies based on countless studies of these incidents such as FIU library’s Kentucky University research that proves firearm accessibility is the cause of these tragedies. In this scholarly article they prove that high accessibility to firearms is a leading factor towards school shootings by stating facts like, “In 80 percent of school-associated firearm-related homicides, the weapons used were obtained from home or from a friend or relative” (Eastern Kentucky University), proving that there is very little evidence in favor of the “illegal gun” argument made by the NRA.
In the end of the day, each individual firearm is a monster that spreads tragedies across America quicker than the Bubonic plague. Many people are affected by this monster, some more directly than others. Regardless of your political views or even your beliefs towards gun ownership, we all have the responsibility of extending the lives of these innocent children. In conclusion, the only way we as a country can truly make a change is by banning or severely decreasing the amount of guns in the United States. If we fail to causally analyze these incidents we will continue to lose more and more lives at the hands of misfortune.
(ATF), ATF By the Numbers, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, July 5, 2016
This is one of the main articles I used for the background of my research. It gave me the numbers regarding the accessibility of guns and how much firearms are in circulation as of 2016. It is reliable because it is a scholarly source with reliable evidence backed data
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome. Monster Theory: Reading Culture. University of Minnesota Press, 1997
Jeffrey Cohen’s Monster theory was very useful in my paper because it allowed me to link the causality of my monster with thesis seven because the monster of firearms is caused by our failure to recognize the accessibility of firearms as a monster. It is a scholarly source because the author was deemed primary and knowledgable in his data
(GVA), Gun Violence Archive, Home page validated as of May 22, 2018
The Gun Violence Archive is an organization I used to gather factual and reliable evidence regarding how many school shootings have occurred until the present day as well as the casualty count and total number of victims of gun violence. They are considered scholarly based on the congressional reports they publish for every state in the United States.
(NRA), National Rifle Association, 1871-present day
I included the NRA and their background in the body of my paper because I needed to state what they claim regarding the causality of recent school shootings. Although the NRA is thought to be scholarly they are technically just an organization that includes a ton of fallacies in their “data” despite using some facts and real life numbers to bend and twist to their liking
The picture also came from the ATF article regarding gun statistics