In 2022, over 600 mass shootings occurred in America, according to the Gun Violence Archive. The number of mass shootings and gun-related deaths increases each year.
A shooting is considered a mass shooting when four or more people are shot, this includes deaths and non-fatal injuries, according to the Gun Violence Archive. It feels insensitive to refer to deaths and injuries as statistics rather than acknowledging them as lives, but these terminologies were created to best categorise these tragedies given how often it occurs.
I’ve been studying this semester at London Foundation for International Education in South Kensington since the beginning of September. Through this experience, I’ve explored sites across the city and traveled to different countries in Europe as well.
During my time here, I’ve been surprised by the safety measures in the United Kingdom and how rare gun crimes are here. Although it is annoying sometimes to have my purse checked before entering a restaurant or tourist site, I remember that it is for my own and others’ safety. I’ve grown to appreciate the level of security and I often wonder if fewer mass shootings and crimes would happen if America adopted these practices too.
Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed the impact of gun violence through the people who are close to me personally. It hurts to watch communities go through an unimaginable amount of grief, sadness and anger. If mass shootings continue at this rate, almost every person in America will know what it’s like to be present at a shooting.
Mass shootings can take place in schools, grocery stores, concerts, religious places of worship and local streets. These acts of violence are carried out by people with dangerous, targeted motives and poor mental health. Innocent people die because guns are easily accessible to people in America.
It is difficult to be in another country watching the aftermath of mass shootings in America. Also, seeing how often mass shootings are happening is unsettling and it makes me nervous to return home.
American protestors and activists do not go unnoticed by our government officials and the president. In a statement on the White House website, President Joe Biden implemented new gun restrictions in America “…requiring young people ages 18 to 21 to undergo enhanced background checks…” (“The Biden-Harris Record.”). While I believe this is a great start to solving the problem of guns getting into the wrong hands, a greater step would be the ban of aggravated assault weapons in Congress.
How many more innocent people will have to be killed before our U.S. elected officials can come together to restrict the accessibility of guns?