What’s Changed?

Opinion by Alice Coleman

AliceLas Vegas, Orlando, Charleston, Parkland, and Chicago: You know these cities. Once synonymous with vacations and idyllic suburban landscapes, now synonymous with gun violence.

February 14th marked the one year anniversary of the Stoneman Douglas shooting in Parkland, Florida where seventeen individuals were shot and killed. The students of Stoneman Douglas took action and has provoked conversation on the topic of gun control by organizing March For Our Lives. Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the shooting, took it upon herself to pretty much start a revolution. Though constantly belittled by conservative men on Fox News and pro-gun activists, she continues to fight for what she believes in: stricter gun laws prevent easy access to assault weapons.

How has our federal government taken to charge to reduce the frequency of gun violence? But what actually has changed in the past year?

Well, not much.

Instead President Donald Trump has coerced the American people into believing that immigrants are the biggest threat. Trump has constructed a “fake” emergency to address “violent” Mexicans that are flooding into the United States,  cleverly distracting us from the real issue of easy accessibility to firearms, the catalyst for gun violence.

Following the President’s lead, GOP Lawmaker Matt Gaetz sidetracked a congressional hearing on gun violence by proposing that a border wall will play a major role in stopping gun violence. How is that logical? More and more government officials are steering Americans away from the real issue of  universal background checks.

Maybe it’s because I’m not originally from the US, but I believe that Americans need to take a step back; killing thousands of innocent individuals by guns is not normal. It’s not common to see a mass shooting appear on the local news once a week. Gun violence is unheard of in England, I never had constant fear of attending a concert or going to a movie theatre. The only thing I had on my mind was where I was going out to dinner that night.

Everyday I think about being killed by a gun. The idea of leaving this country and returning home to a safer country with little gun violence crosses my mind quite often.

Nobody can hide from gun violence in the United States. Whether you’re black, white, rich or poor, you could be next. Because we’re all in this together we can’t let the momentum from last year’s March For Our Lives fade away.

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