As of today, Thursday, December 3rd, there have been at least 352 mass shootings in America. There are only 365 days in a year and just a few more days left in 2015. I don’t understand why every time we have a mass shooting in this country, nearly once a day, politicians, TV presenters and gun enthusiasts send out “prayers” to the families of the victims. We don’t need anymore goddamn prayers. Will you ask for prayers when your friends or family are next?
Though I’m not religious I do believe in God, in something, but I was always taught that prayer is only the first step. Pray on it, sure, but you also have to help yourself, too. Praying without taking measured action is so lazy, a bandaid, and it doesn’t directly address the source of the problem.
Today the New York Daily News, known for its sensational headlines and love of puns, dropped a ballsy headline that actually addresses the real issue about gun control. The cover publishes the Twitter feeds of Republican politicians Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Lindsey Graham, who all asked for “prayers” in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting. “God Isn’t Fixing This,” the headline screams, putting Republican politicians who continuously block gun control legistalation on blast. Paul Ryan, et al., consider your wig completely and utterly snatched.
Read: God Isn’t Fixing This
In April 2015 I spent a week at Southern Illinois University Carbondale and was floored to see signage on the doors to buildings prohibiting guns on campus. I’d never seen anything like it. You need a sign to tell you not to bring guns on campus? This August 2016 Texas will launch it’s new “Campus Carry” law which will allow individuals who have a concealed handgun license to carry their weapons on campus.
The (idiotic) main idea behind the law is that more guns on campus will mean fewer campus shootings because somewhere there will be someone who can take down an active shooter. Okay, fine. Having a license to shoot is one thing, but it’s an entirely different matter to shoot when under the stress and anxiety of a terrorist attack. Does the new law take this into account?
This Republican-driven law will be optional for private colleges and universities, with Rice, Texas Christian, and Southern Methodist immediately opting out of the law out of concerns over safety. Daniel Hamermesh, a professor emeritus of Economics at UT Austin, has withdrawn from the University over the law and wrote an open letter to the University president explaining that the policy will make it even more difficult to attract top rate faculty.
Why on earth does anyone need to carry a gun on a college campus, in a dorm, in a lecture hall? Recently the American Studies Association, along with 28 other learned societies, has condemned Campus Carry legislation over the very real threat of danger it poses to students, faculty and staff in the campus community.
I can’t speak for everyone, obviously, but as a visibly black, queer and frequently gender non-conforming male I would feel completely unsafe on a college campus, or in a college town, where I knew it was legal for people to carry weapons. Would I get shot if I held my boyfriend’s hand or kissed him between classes? Would shots be fired at a Black Lives Matter protest? Not only would I feel like a moving target — imagine what could happen at a queer demonstration or kiss-in, or any sort of liberal campus protest — but I would be terrified to go college in a space where it’s now legal for the straight white male next to me in seminar to be a terrorist with a gun.