To bear, or not to bear

Photo courtesy of

Thirty-one percent of the world’s mass shooters are American citizens. Yet, America is home to only 5% of the world’s population.

The mass shootings at Columbine High School, Sandy Hook Elementary School, Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School, and earlier this week at Oxford High School outside Detroit, have altered the way many U.S. citizens perceive gun laws.

These tragedies all took place in public schools. Most of the children and teens killed were murdered without considering color, background or gender. Though young activists and government officials have persistently advocated for a change to the firearm policies, the die-hard conservatives are sticking to their guns.

Yennifer Castillo, a FAMU graduating senior, who’s a middle school teacher at a private school in Tallahassee, says school shootings make her feel afraid and unprepared.

“As teachers, we are trained to notice the signs, so when things like this occur, I know that a lot of educators feel as though there was something they could have done to prevent such a tragedy,” Castillo said.

History shows that Americans classify things as expendable more times than not. Black lives? Expendable. Children’s lives? Expendable. The lives of the LGBTQ community? Expendable.

Yet, what is the one thing that conservatives will never surrender come hell or high water? Guns.

To uncover people’s attachment with these destructive weapons, start by looking at America before the ‘OG’ Independence Day. When Christopher Columbus and later the pilgrims came to North America, they stripped the Native Americans of everything they owned and commenced the country’s first recorded genocide.

The British were next on the hit list. Taxation without representation and the Townshend Act was admissible. But the Boston Massacre was unforgivable. That was the day the Europeans learned that the man with the gun always comes out on top.

The American Revolution was a war fought between Great Britain and the militia of Lexington and Concord. In other words, the colonies got their freedom from countrymen who kept that strap on them. The victorious and newly free men had uncovered the secret weapon to all their earthly desires. Though the musket wasn’t as detrimental as modern-day weaponry, it was the beginning of the never-ending debate of the 2nd Amendment.

Kidnapping, enslaving, raping, murdering and torturing an entire race of humans was a task taken on by the white man. Though they had numerous ways of enforcing boundaries with slaves besides guns, the whip was an essential torture mechanism used to punish disobedient slaves and make an example for others who may want to question authority.

It was them against the whip, against the gun, against the men who took them away from everything they had ever known. In comparison, modern-day gun violence within the Black community remains unresolved. Police brutality also has been a grave problem dating back to lynchings in the 19th century.

To put all this information in retrospect of the 2nd Amendment and why the gun policy is such a burden to talk about is to ask; how slavery would have occurred or how long it would have happened if slave masters had no weapons. No whip, no guns, and no noose. If the playing field was even, would the most horrendous act of genocide and slavery in American history be non-existent?

The March for Our Lives movement was obstructed by the survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School in Broward County on Feb. 14, 2018. However, it was a turning point in changing gun laws and mass shooting protocols in public places.

The lack of initiative that the government has taken to tailor to the rise of assault rifles landing in the hands of unfit and dangerous murderers has inspired victims of gun violence and many public-school students who feel unsafe in their schools to protest.

Nobody in their right mind wants to see innocent children seeking an education brutally murdered. Yet, the importance of changing the policies in place to prevent these mass shootings from occurring does not seem to be a priority. Instead, the 2nd Amendment defenders would rather arm teachers, insert metal detectors in schools, and leave the rest to chance.

The bumper sticker “Guns don’t kill people; people kill people,” has piggy-backed the 2nd Amendment defenders for years. However, what does that mean for those who are killing people? The militia stole an whole country, the slave owners took an entire race, and police officers received a badge and a paycheck. Did everybody else get what they deserve simply because they showed up to a gunfight with boxing gloves?

Let history be our most celebrated educator when the future is at stake. The right to bear arms is embedded in our constitution, making all gun-owning Americans sleep a little bit better at night. But how do we console the loved ones of those who have died at the hands of gun violence? The only reason white gun-bearing Americans refuse to give up their firearms is because they have seen what happens to people who do not have a weapon in a time of high hostility.