We're Missing the Point
by Taylor Derrisaw | published Oct. 17th, 2017
On Sunday, Oct. 1, Steven Paddock opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas, Nev. killing at least 59 and wounding hundreds.This horrendous event has become the most prolific and deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, not even two years after the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Fla.
In the next few weeks you’re bound to see people rushing to defend certain ideologies: that the gun is pure and only man is to blame or “only a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun.” You’re going to see the opposite argument as well, that if he hadn’t owned a gun the incident would have never happened, or that we need stricter gun control laws.
We’re missing the point.
The context of what happened that Sunday night is crucial. No one at that concert thought they were going to die that night and I highly doubt that any one of them thought they were going to be fired on by someone who wants nothing more than to do someone else harm. They were there to enjoy themselves and many of them lost their lives for it.
The average person doesn’t walk around thinking that this day is going to be their last because we’ve been raised to believe that we live in a society where random acts of violence don’t happen. We’ve become comfortable with the idea that what happens in Las Vegas, Newton, Aurora or Columbine can’t happen to us when the events of Oct. 1 prove otherwise. Americans are more likely to die from gun violence than in other developed nations.
Those who advocate for gun rights believe that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun; this ideology is the inherent problem. There are two sides to this kind of thinking, the first being that “bad guys” won’t want to commit any heinous acts if they know other people are armed. The second being that if said “bad guy” were to attempt some act of violence other armed citizens would step up to the plate and defend themselves.
Steven Paddock shot himself before police could get to him. This man had absolutely no intention of staying alive that night. This is a common thread throughout most mass shootings, the killer will kill themselves before any kind of retaliation is brought against them. This isn't always the case, but many of the perpetrators aren't dissuaded by the thought of someone killing them in retaliation.
The second part of that argument is the rotten core of the gun issue this country faces. Concertgoers shouldn’t have to defend themselves, moviegoers shouldn’t have to keep their eyes on the exits and kids should not be afraid to go to school.
It's almost become this sick, twisted fantasy in our culture. If a man with a gun puts other people in danger a good, cowboy-esque figure will come to the rescue and prevent harm. It's irresponsible and fucking horrifying.
The point of all mass shooting debates should be how to prevent the weapon from showing up in the first place. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a society where I’m in constant fear of being shot for going to a concert or walking down the street. I don’t want to live in a state of constant paranoia, where I never take my hand off my holster because I don’t know if the man next to me is going to try and take my life. If I ever have kids, I certainly don’t want them going to school fearing that one of their classmates will kill them. I don’t want to have a discussion with them on how to properly hide when one of their friends is trying to kill them.
I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers, I don’t know if full gun control is the answer and I sure as hell don’t believe the answer is to give everyone a gun, but if we’re not going to be honest about why we keep having those debates, we have no reason to be shocked when these things happen.