When I woke up last Friday and saw “Aurora shooting” trending on Twitter through sleep-crusted eyes, I thought it was the anniversary of that senseless slaughter in Colorado.
Instead, I found out like the rest of the country did, that there was yet another shooting, this time in Aurora, IL, just west of Chicago at the Henry Pratt Company plant.
At first,t I wondered if there was something wrong with me, as the feelings of anger and outrage did not wash over me as they had when Sandy Hook happened in 2012, or even last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida when 17 students died in a heinous mass shooting.
I felt mostly numb about this most recent shooting, bothered that it had happened not terribly far from where I had grown up, but I kept on with my day.
The fact that I am numb, and that the public conscience seems to be numb to shootings now, is incredibly damning on American society.
The perpetrator had gotten a gun legally initially, according to ABC Channel 7 Chicago reports, but was flagged after he received a concealed carry permit, as a 1995 aggravated assault charge from Mississippi was spotted on his record.
This could have been avoided with legislation. Contrary to the fear mongering of Dana Loesch at the National Rifle Association, now the largest gun lobbying body in America, gun legislation does not mean seizing all guns from gun owners.
What people with common sense want, is to know that there will be thorough background checks on people wanting to purchase firearms.
People should not have bump stocks and assault rifles with military-grade capacities, period.
You don’t hunt with them, and if you want to recreationally shoot, fine.
Then you should register your weapons, submit to a background check, shoot at the designated range and lock the weapons at the range.
I understand this will not solve all this country’s problems when it comes to gun violence, and I am not anti-gun.
A question not asked often enough is how many times we are going to let men with domestic battery, assault, stalking and conduct untoward women continue to possess firearms?
If a person puts hands on anyone, but especially committing violence toward women, he or she should not possess a firearm.
He or she should have court-mandated therapy.
The truth is we don’t respect women enough in our society.
In many of America’s mass shootings over the previous 15 years, the perpetrator had abused a woman, or had harassed them in some form prior to the shooting, and no one in a position of authority saw this as a warning sign to intervene.
What kind of society are we creating where five people get murdered at their work, the news covers the shooting for a day and we are all able to move on with our lives?
There are five victims who will never return home again. One was a marketing intern who was at his first day at the Pratt Company, a 21 year-old Northern Illinois University student.
Another was a human resources manager, who texted his wife, “I’ve been shot. I love you,” according to the wife who shared her story with the Chicago Sun-Times.
This country needs to invest in mental health resources, not use our prisons as de facto psychiatric wards and give our society the proper tools to treat people with mental health ailments.
Lastly, I am disgusted by the lack of political courage in creating bipartisan legislation on gun control.
According to the Center on Responsive Politics, the NRA spent $710,654 across both chambers of Congress to keep their agenda in place.
It is reprehensible that our representatives that are supposed to be looking out for our interests are instead taking money from an organization that has proven repeatedly to not care about the American public at large.
We need to keep up the outrage against these shootings, myself included.
If we don’t vote, and don’t hold our elected officials accountable, the people who have given their last full measure at the hands of violence, will have lost their lives in vain.
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