By Steph Haeg
This is something that I already know. People who disagree with me will shake their heads and say I just don’t understand. People who agree with me will nod along. This column will not change minds. But maybe I’ll try anyway.
I grew up in a town where guns were very common. Most of my classmates had photos of themselves hunting with their parents that they’d display proudly. I remember posters advertising gun safety classes all over my elementary school. In high school, a friend of mine told me that he had accidentally shot someone while screwing around with his dad’s pistol. He hadn’t realized it was loaded.
My uncles have guns, my cousins have guns and my friends have guns. My parents still do not. My mother is Australian. Australia banned guns the year I was born, in response to a mass shooting. There were never any guns in my house that didn’t fire neon-colored foam pellets. But even so, I know the fears of gun owners.
Hunting is an important lifestyle for many people in my family; the Second Amendment is a fundamental part of this country and its history. But when I turned on the news Monday morning to find out that over 50 people had died in Las Vegas while attending a music festival of all things, I couldn’t understand those fears. There were children at that festival; a festival where people went to appreciate music. I watched and listened and read, and something heavy began to weigh down on me. Nothing is going to change because of this. No laws will change, just like no laws have been changed after the dozens of mass shootings this year alone, many of which did not even make the news.
I think gun owners can stop panicking about people like me trying to take away your hunting rifles now. We can’t even keep fully automatic weapons out of the hands of men like the Las Vegas shooter. We haven’t managed to pass gun control laws after the Aurora Theater shooting, or after Sandy Hook, or after the Orlando Pulse nightclub. A man opened fire at a Congressional baseball practice, injuring Congressional leaders, and still, no one budged on gun control.
The NRA’s victory is all too clear. The system is flooded with fear of retaliation and money. We cannot protect children in our country from these senseless acts of violence, and we will be told trying to prevent more deaths like this are politicizing the issue. The Pulse nightclub was the deadliest shooting in U.S. history for 16 months. I wonder how long Las Vegas will hold its title.
This is the opinion of Steph Haeg, CSB senior