- Have you ever felt uncomfortable at crowded places and wanted to get out of that situation as soon as possible fearing a mass shooting?
- Do you want to see our schools as the safest place for the children and all school shootings to stop forever?
- Are you sad and get anxious after hearing all these news on gun violence?
- Are you the one that always locate the exit gates while entering a movie theatre?
- Do you want to see more security around you?
- Do you want your loved ones to stay safe?
I am sure that your answers to all the above questions are a big YES. And you are not alone in this situation. Almost 6 in 10 Americans fear gun violence and mass shooting in their community 1 .
According to official mass shooting tracker, there have been 446 mass shootings in U.S so far in 2019. These figures are shocking and unbelievable. Undoubtedly this is the most serious problem that America is facing.
….. And due to all these gun violence incidents, people are coming out and expressing their fear and anxieties on social media channels. No Geraldine, you are not alone. Without a doubt, majority feel the same. And it should be noted that majority of people feel that a lot more needs to be done to stop these mass shootings.
So, how is your typical day and what you normally do?
During this age and time, most people go through the following on daily basis.
- You send your kids to school and parts of you is always at school. You are always thinking about the well-being of your kid(s) and want them to return home safely.
- Someone from the family just went out for groceries and you always look outside for the Car coming back safely in your driveway.
- Your loved one just went outside for some fun at the large gathering to celebrate an occasion and part of you have your eyes on the watch and the phone screen. Part of you is always worried.
- You start calculating your exit strategies everywhere you go. You locate your exit spots if someone comes in and open fires.
There are countless situations like the above that we as humans go through in our daily life.
Why does this happen and why do we worry so much?
First and foremost, it is the emotional attachment that we have with our loved ones and we want them to return home safely. Secondly and more importantly, It is because of the constant fear that is settling in to our mind due to all these news channels showing Breaking news about the mass shooting incidents and gun violence happening all around us. And we do not want this to happen to any of our loved ones.
Many parents have sleepless nights because their Son/Daughter is at a celebration and has not yet returned home. First thing that always stuck in their mind is “Are they safe”? Should I call them and find out? ……Because there is a constant fear that our loved ones could be the next victim of mass shootings.
As per GALLUP poll, nearly half 2 in the U.S fear being the Victim of Mass Shooting. Americans are more likely to mention Guns and Gun Control as the biggest problem facing the country.
Will we stop worrying about all this?
Simple answer is, we can’t. Not until we stop hearing about all these mishappenings around the world. Not until we see superior gun controls measures put in place. We may have become a lot more paranoid. This decade was one of the worst. Countless people lost their life. Thousands others wounded and carrying the mental scars for the rest of their life. One often wonders, Is there someone, some legislation, something that can put a full stop on all these mass shooting incidents? Will this gun violence ever stop?
Easier said than done…..Let’s have a look at some figures first.
Facts and figures on Gun Violence
We all know America is plagued with all these mishappenings and before we delve in, let’s look at some figures first. These figures are shocking and eye opening. Let’s look at these startling figures about gun ownership in America. (Small arms survey 2018) 3.
Now let’s move forward and see how the above figures translates in to Gun Violence in America. The figures are really shocking. 14,795 people have died in America due to Gun Violence alone in 2018 4 with thousands more injured and wounded.
Why so many Mass Shooting incidents in America?
There is no easy answer to this. Americans love their Guns. After back-to-back mass shootings in August 2019, even the US President and Republicans expressed support for gun control legislation but the true reforms seem unlikely. There are many loopholes in the system.
It’s easy to get a gun in America. Relaxed background checks, people can buy Guns and other weapons at gun shows. They can buy online and even privately from other people. Furthermore, the rules don’t check the state of the buyer’s health. And clearly majority of the mass shooting incidents relate to poor mental health of the shooter. Assault rifles, Military style weapons are easily available for civilians.
HuffPost youtube video shows how America became obsessed with firearms and how much time it takes to buy an assault rifle AR -15 in America. In 38 minutes 5 . It’s shocking !!
Will these Mass Shooting incidents stop?
There is no clear “YES” or “NO” to this. No one can stop a person with mental illness, with a weapon in hand, from doing what he wanted to do. It is not possible to have Police guarding every school, every hospital, every stadium and every other place with large gathering. Not possible to keep an eye on every gun sale as many sales happen privately. It is not possible to confiscate all the weapons. Moreover there is no way to find out if someone has illegal firearms in possession at “that” moment. Given all this, something has to happen to stop all these mass shootings. Something needs to happen faster.
What are the options to stop or reduce Gun Violence?
1. Stop all weapon sales to civilians
This is highly unlikely scenario. Americans fought hard to get to the place where they are today. Americans love their guns and what happens to all those weapons that are already in public hands?
2. Have more Police deployed at every major place.
Although it is good to have more police presence around schools, colleges and hospitals but it is not possible to do so. There are hundreds of thousands of schools and colleges and it is not plausible to deploy force in front of every school, college and other important places. Moreover it requires lot of capital.
3. Ban all military style assault rifles and weapons to Civilians.
This is possible, but governments need to come together and agree to pass the legislations and turn this into reality. Do you remember Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand and how quick the action was taken to ban military style weapons?
4. Stay at home as much as possible.
Surprised? Yes this was one of the theme among social media posters in August when many people posted they prefer to stay at home as much as possible and avoid going out to busy areas unless they really need to. But what a like it would be to miss out all the fun outdoors.
5. Mandatory background check and most importantly a complete health check
This one is much needed. We have seen that video on how fast it is to get a weapon. Do you think complete background checks happened in those 38 minutes? More checks and balances need to be put in place and especially more checks on the general health and mental state of the buyer.
6. Training and arming teachers at school.
This was one of the main talks and many prominent people talked about it in August. But will it work? Although this is possible to have teachers trained, but is it realistic? Do you want to send your children to schools knowing the teachers themselves are armed? What kind of environment that will be.
7. Banning the video games promoting violence.
Blaming on video games for what is happening around is not a good idea. These games are played across the globe by rich and poor, but how many of those actually turn to shooters?
8. Spread the message that everyone on this planet is same.
This one seems the promising and plausible. Although it might take longer to see the actual results. Majority of the mass shootings or gun violence are a result of hate. Hating someone, hating a community or hating a race, a religion. Last but not the least, children need to be taught at the young age to love and respect everyone equally.
9. Using new technology to alert officials quickly
Look promising. Technology can help. Properly tested technology can alert the officials before the shooter become active. More devices at the entrances that can check hidden weapons and alert.
10. Put more pressure on authorities to get the reforms quicker.
Many people are in the favor of more gun reforms, strict gun laws and ban assault rifles. Below is the picture about the march that was done to raise awareness and get everyone along for a presser.
State heads have thought about options since years and so far there is not one concrete solution widely adopted for this situation. More and more people are coming out to get something done faster so that the next big mass shooting is stopped.
Is the Gun Violence really that bad?
It is bad but how bad, there is no measurement to this. Many people live under constant fear and fear is a powerful emotion and it dictates our actions. Due to these almost daily “Breaking” news, maybe we are more paranoid now. Or our fear index changes to extreme fear when we see those “Live Coverage” images and Videos. Maybe our subconscious mind put us in that situation and we see us somewhere in that picture.
Can you prepare for Mass Shooting?
It depends on what your situation is when that active event happens.
- Can you run faster and move away from that scene?
- Can you hide where “they” don’t have access to?
Number 1 seems safest. But what happens if you have kids and older people with you. They cannot run as fast as it is needed during those times. Number 2 is possible, but what happens if “They” know where you are hiding?
Industry experts always suggest keeping an eye on the surroundings anywhere you go. Keep your guard up. Always look out for the exit strategies in case something happens. Plan ahead. Do not worry about your belongings when there is an active seen. Life is more important than anyone else and first aim should be to keep you and family safe. Learn about the safety tips and take help when needed.
What can you do to shed these Mass Shooting fears?
Best thing anyone can do it to live your life as per the routine. Too much worry often takes us away from wonderful moments that we could otherwise have had. Stick to your life and do what you have always liked to do and enjoy life. Reach out and stay connected with friends and families. Stay away from the news if that increase your anxiety. Talk to your children and don’t dodge the hard questions if they may ask.
Talk to other communities and tell them you are with them. Spread love and peace. Teach children that all race, religion are same and don’t deserve any hate. Try to stick together and enjoy the life and remember that your chances of being hit by lightning are far more than you being involved in a mass shooting.
Enjoy your life. May god bless all.
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