Safety conversations should not require mass casualties

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Time to reexamine gun ownership


Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay shooting on Oct. 1, 2017 was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, defeating Orlando’s nightclub shooting as the death toll rises over 50. Breaking the national record twice in two years is a grim achievement for the country to say the least, and it has yet again instigated dialogue on the topic of gun control.

The increase of mass shootings in the country has made the political battle regarding gun control almost an irritating default, but incidents such as the Mandalay Bay shooting emphasize why there should be continued conversation until safety through gun control is reached. It should not take fatalities for that conversation of gun safety to really begin.

When such tragedies happen in other countries, or even far enough across the same country, those against gun control stick to their values because it seems impersonal and unreal. But when a shooting happens close to home, people alter their views, especially when they were at the scene or know any of the victims.

One performer at the concert whose views were changed due to the shooting, Caleb Keeter, guitarist of the Josh Abbott Band, posted a note on his Twitter account declaring his change of view. He wrote, “We need gun control RIGHT. NOW. My biggest regret is that I stubbornly didn’t realize it until my brothers on the road and myself were threatened by it.”

On campus there are students who were personally affected by the Mandalay Bay shooting, either by being at the shooting or having friends or family who were. Some of them are now beginning to support gun control because of the impact the shooting had on them.

Newly changed views, however, force one to wonder why it takes a direct tragedy for people to consider changing their views. This should not be the case. It might be easier to be apathetic to hundreds of murders throughout the country when they are considered strangers, but it is not ethical to care only when you or someone you care about are directly involved.

Charlie Ellison, a junior in the mechatronics department, said on the topic, “My views for gun control have definitely been strengthened. But I think it is only until someone breaches [our personal safety] do we realize just how vulnerable we actually are. Once we feel vulnerable, we decide it is time to act so we can build our shell back up and feel safe again.”

People should care about those dying due to the Second Amendment before it personally affects them, but sometimes it takes that direct tragedy to recognize the need for change. Whether deciding, like Charlie, to speak up about gun control or deciding to change opinions entirely, the battle for gun control needs to be fought—because one assault rifle is not necessary for any citizen, let alone more than 20.