An open letter to America

gunus

Dear America,

We need to talk. Again.

Once again, the most vulnerable people in our society – children – were mowed down by a person who managed to legally purchase a weapon.

This week’s mass shooter was a man who was already on the FBI’s radar for making threats to students, bragged about killing animals and allegedly had links with a white nationalist militia group. And yet this same man was able to legally buy a gun that can shoot 45 rounds a minute.

But the real problem isn’t just that this man, and others like him, able to get their hands on a gun; it’s that your citizens are able to buy such weapons in the first place.

America, people should not have to fear the prospect of dying in a shooting when they attend a concert, go to school, pray at their church or visit any public place. Australia and other countries like them have already learnt that lesson; after Australia suffered five mass shootings in the space of a decade, they implemented strict gun laws and they haven’t had a mass shooting since 1996.

Meanwhile, since Trump has become your President, your guns laws have become even more lax. A law Trump signed into law last year, making it easier for people with mental illnesses buy guns, may have even helped contribute to this latest tragedy.

And we get it America, you have a Second Amendment which means that you can’t get rid of all guns. But should weapons used by the military, such as the AR-15 (used in this and many other mass shootings), really be in the hands of your civilians? They are not useful for home defence and are not appropriate for hunting, but they are perfect for creating carnage wherever a gunman chooses to cause mayhem.

Each day, 93 people die from gun violence. If that many people were dying as a result of a plague sweeping the country, or from a natural disaster, or by terrorism, you would be doing everything in your power to protect people. And yet, when it comes to guns, you act as if nothing is wrong.

What’s most bizarre of all of this from someone watching from the outside is that some of your most evangelical citizens, who will happily march under a ‘pro-life’ banner to stop women from having the right to terminate their pregnancy, are the same people who shout the loudest at the prospect of gun control aimed at protecting the lives of Americans.

As an outsider watching tragedy after tragedy unfold in your country day after day, it is frustrating that, despite the majority of your people wanting a solution to stop this, your politicians block the way to actually preventing more bloodshed. 94% of voters support background checks, including 93% of Republicans, and yet the will of the people has been ignored time after time. Rather than acting in the interests of constituents, it seems like some of your politicians in Washington would rather support and defend the views of a small but vocal minority with big pockets – the National Rifle Association.

America, this is an intervention – this can’t continue to happen over and over again (although these words have already been said 18 times already this year). You have an unhealthy relationship towards guns, to the point that you value them over the lives of your own citizens.

A mass shooting per day should never be the price to pay for freedom. Thoughts and prayers are all well and good, but your people need and serve more than that. This problem isn’t going to go away on its own – now is the time to actually do something about it.

Finally, America, I want to leave you with a poem from Brian Bilston:

England is a cup of tea,
France, a wheel of ripened brie,
Greece, a short, squat olive tree.

America is a gun.

Brazil is football on the sand,
Argentina, Maradona’s hand,
Germany, an oompah band.

America is a gun.

Holland is a wooden shoe,
Hungary, a goulash stew,
Australia, a kangaroo.

America is a gun.

Japan is a thermal spring,
Scotland is a highland fling.

Oh, better to be anything
than America as a gun.

America, the world is watching.