Target Practice: On being a nation of sitting ducks / by Kailee Haong

We are a nation of sitting ducks becoming target practice for the next mass murderer. We sit. We watch our friends, family, children get shot. We watch them fall. We sit. We say: Well, there's nothing really that we can do." That's bullshit. We. Need. Gun. Control. End of story.

Let's start with a common argument that anti-gun control folks will often fling into the void: The fact that people who are FOR gun control must have never even seen a gun in real life before, let alone handled one. 

So, before I give you my argument, I'll tell you my credentials. I have handled, loaded, fired, cleaned, and properly stored a lot of different types of guns. I have gone to shooting ranges a number of times and mercilessly decimated paper targets, clay pigeons, and some cardboard. I'd like to emphasize again: at a shooting range. No humans, wildlife, or any living thing was injured. I have really good aim. I enjoy hitting the target spot on, it's satisfying. Below are some terrible quality photos of ME:

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For many people, going to a shooting range (for example) is just a hobby. We aren't trying to take away your hobby. No one cares if you like to blow off some steam on the weekends and shoot some paper targets. What we're trying to take away is the ability to maim and murder children and adults so easily and so readily. It is easy to purchase a weapon. It is really damn easy. One of the main things we're asking for here are much stricter, more thorough background checks. Why would anyone be opposed to that? You'll stand in a TSA line for hours to make sure you fly safely to your destination, so why wouldn't you support a lengthier process in obtaining a weapon? Step 1. 

Step 2. Why the hell does anyone need to own assault rifles, or really any magazine-fed or rapid-firing guns, for that matter? If you're one of the "own a gun for my person protection," kind of people, fine, but if an intruder is in your house do you really need to fire 20 rounds into the person? It's ridiculous. These are the kinds of guns that are slaughtering the people we know and love. Give me one good reason we shouldn't get rid of them. 

Step 3, ah, the second amendment. Do you know how old that fucking piece of paper is? I mean, seriously. If mass shooters barged into places with the guns they used in the 18th century, you could run a goddamn marathon before they could reload the thing. We're not in the 1700s anymore! Guns are bigger, better, faster, easier to get, easier to use, easier to kill with. It's crazy, it's almost like... as time goes on... things change. Weird concept, right?

I'm tired. I'm tired of waking up to news about more people dying in mass shootings. This is not normal. But here, we've totally fucking normalized it. We are numb to this. We are numb to preventable death. 

"Guns don't kill people, people kill people," I swear if I hear this argument one more time I might scream. Of course an inanimate object can't kill someone. But wait--what's this? Oh yeah, it's a hell of a lot fucking easier to kill someone with a gun than without a gun. 

"You tried banning drugs and that didn't work! Why would it work on guns!" Yeah, we have problems with drugs. That's inevitable. Do you know how many MORE problems we'd have if they weren't banned at all? I'm scratching my head wondering why I even have to explain this logic to anyone. Wouldn't saving one child's life be worth it? What if it was your child? Is that what it takes? Have some goddamn empathy, people. 

"We just need to arm the teachers! Hire vets to guard our schools!" No. We don't live in a fucking dystopian novel. I don't want to walk into class seeing my professor with an AK slung around his neck like we're living in a goddamn war zone. That would absolutely not make me feel safe. Not one bit. We do not need to arm teachers. Similarly, we do not need to hire people to guard schools. First off, where is the money coming from to pay for all these guns and guards? You hardly even pay teachers as is. Pay them what they deserve before even thinking about jacking up the deficit to plop a pistol in every teachers' hand. 

"We have a serious mental health crisis!" Yeah, we do. But the people spouting this as a deterrent for stopping the discourse on gun control don't actually give a shit about mental health. They're using it as a scapegoat. We do have a mental health crisis. There aren't options for many people to seek treatment or help. I won't even go into the healthcare crisis that covers these options, because the same people who are saying "we need to fix the mental health crisis," are the same ones that are undermining and stripping everyday Americans of their right to those services. Not to mention what an unfair light this places on people who struggle with mental illness. The vast majority of people who do are not violent. 

Okay, a breather. I'm just sick of seeing people dead. Aren't you? 

I'll leave you with a quote.

“We lose eight children and teenagers to gun violence every day. If a mysterious virus suddenly started killing eight of our children every day, America would mobilize teams of doctors and public health officials. We would move heaven and earth until we found a way to protect our children. But not with gun violence.”
— Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)