Opinion, Politics

“Until America bans guns, they are failing their people” – Harry Spindler

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By Harry Spindler


America has a humanitarian crisis plain and simple. By definition, a humanitarian crisis is “a singular event or a series of events that are threatening in terms of health, safety or well being of a community or large group of people”. It is hard to believe that a nation that has such a serious issue with protecting itself from mass shootings, has not introduced widespread federal change to spare the lives of any future victims.

But that disbelief isn’t one to linger with me, the National Rifle Association spent $54 million dollars in 2016 to ensure there was a Republican congress, with $30.3 million of that being spent directly on Donald Trump’s election campaign. The relationship between the White House and the NRA is so close that it is clouding the judgment of those in power.

Last week, an expelled pupil at a high school in Florida returned to his former place of study and, heavily armed, began a rampage taking 17 lives in the process. To me, it is foreign, and in all honesty insane, that a 17-year-old was able to purchase an assault rifle, improve that weapon with a stock increasing his fire rate, and no one asked why. I get the same answer, it’s his right as an American to honour the Second Amendment and purchase a rifle. I get that bit, however, it doesn’t make it any more sane to me. Why does a 17-year-old need a weapon? Time and time again, America’s youth are the targets of madmen and the criminally insane, and each and every time they are failed by the government which is sworn in to protect them.

Inaction within the United States has been an issue spanning multiple presidents, and whilst many regard his presidency as one involving an anti-gun stance, very little was actually put in place. The few rules and laws that were passed under Obama have been quickly altered to suit President Trump’s ideology, including rescinding the gun checks which had to be carried out on mentally ill citizens interested in purchasing a weapon. Ironically enough, the rescinding of that act took place just short of a year before the shooting in Parkland on Valentine’s day.

Have you ever seen the film Groundhog Day? With Bill Murray, it is a fun little film about a horrible guy who shows a complete lack of respect for those around him, forced to repeat Groundhog day until he changes his ways and etc, etc. Put that idea of repeating the same actions over and over again, you would imagine change has to be made to stop it from happening. I feel like that change is what we are waiting for, and yet nothing happens. It makes my heart sink when I know that despite the 17 lives lost in Florida, the 58 who died last year in Vegas, the 49 dead in Orlando 2016, the 37 in Virginia in 2007, the 15 lost in Columbine in 1999 and the many I have left out but not forgotten, nothing has changed. The most to ever come from any of this unnecessary loss of life is a minor regulation or a phony law, which pretends to address the issue but never focuses on the major one, and that major problem is that guns kill.

Militaries use guns to kill their foes, hunters use guns to kill their prey, and so I return to the question posed earlier, why does a 17-year-old need a gun? More so, what does any normal person need with a gun? Banning guns in America is a complex task. With the way Federal and State governments work, it could be virtually impossible to eradicate gun ownership completely, but more frustratingly would be tackling the gun culture in the country. America has a very awkward relationship with firearms, with the opinion that arming teachers is a better idea than taking the guns away, but at the same time recent surveys suggest that now more Americans are dissatisfied with current gun laws than satisfied, and those dissatisfied want stricter regulations on gun ownership. Recent polls would promote the case that Americans prefer the idea of harsher tests and rules on who can and cannot own a firearm, something which any realist can accept is necessary. I say realist in the sense that, if you notice how America and gun ownership and far too close to completely separate,  you’d have to accept the fact harsher gun regulations are the only possibility. This is an opinion which may not be widely supported, and in my heart, I would want to get rid of them completely, but if those who want to rid themselves of firearms appear too strong then associations like the NRA won’t budge and their grip will tighten. Some may say defeatist, but I’ll argue for the realist.

America’s relationship with gun ownership isn’t just within the citizens of the nation, but is embedded within the countries political system too. Politicians are often looked towards during these moments of crisis within a country. After 7/7 took place in London, many sought information and intent from Tony Blair and Ken Livingstone, Prime Minister and London Mayor respectively, at the time. Regardless of your political stance, you seek answers to questions from the leader of your country, on what they plan to do. If you look at American politicians after these crises, they often refuse to be drawn into the debate of gun ownership, mainly Republican politicians. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan asked us to pray for the victims and their families and not make knee-jerk decisions, many notice the near $50,000 he had received during his time in Congress, this being only a fraction of what he had received in total from the NRA with regards to campaign support, ad campaigns and other forms of financial contributions. This isn’t the only case of the NRA filling the pockets of Republican candidates, with Marco Rubio and former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz also being handed hefty donations and contribution from the NRA. Rubio received roughly $5000 in contributions personally, but had been supported by a large $1 million donation from the organisation to boost his efforts for re-election in California. Cruz was handed $12,000 from the NRA directly but also received a backing of $65,000 during his race for election to the Senate.

Major politicians in the American system are within the pockets of the NRA and it is clear to see that any form of regulation or change is being held up by that same organisation. When a deal needs to be made, both sides have to be willing to change and, right now, it appears that those who are getting hurt are demanding change and those who are filling their pockets are content to let this repeat. A hard statement to make, but until America regulates or bans gun ownership, they are failing their citizens and playing a dangerous monopoly over their lives. Everytime a shooter takes the lives of innocent students, everytime that a madman opens fire on concertgoers and every single time that a psychopath slaughters club goers, we are witnessing a major systematic failure by the American government to protect their citizens. I understand that the Second Amendment is a historical act, which has a lot of meaning to Americans and their history, but right now that bill gives an easy option to those who intend harm on others, and laws are not necessarily permanent.

We once viewed homosexuality as illegal, it didn’t make just law, and while the Second Amendment supports a human freedom, it doesn’t have a place in this modern age; it is outdated and the longer it stays in place, the less safe Americans are when undertaking everyday actions.

Change has to come, and it has to come soon, otherwise more lives will be unnecessarily lost and those who pocket donations from lunatics like the NRA are to blame.

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Humanity Hallows

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