OPINION COLUMNS

Put people first, consider gun control

By Racey Burden | Published Wednesday, October 4, 2017
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Late Sunday night my phone woke me with a Twitter notification – “Active shooter situation at Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.”

I went back to sleep, but I remember thinking, “That’s terrible,” followed by another terrible thought I wish I didn’t have to have – “I hope it’s just one crazy guy mad at one person.”

Racey Burden

Another notification a few hours later said two were dead. And then I thought, “Well, at least it’s only two.”

In the morning, of course, we all knew the real toll. As of Tuesday, 59 people, attendees of a country music festival 500 yards away from the hotel where the gunmen took aim, are dead.

It’s terrifying and heart-wrenching and familiar. I’m in my mid-20s, and this is the third time I can distinctly recall headlines about the nation’s largest mass shooting – I remember Virginia Tech, I remember Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. Now Las Vegas is at the top of a list no one wants to be a part of.

Any murder is tragic, but these mass killings strike a deeper chord of fear because they’re so unexpected, so public. I sometimes walk into a movie theater and think about Aurora. In high school, I worried about something like Columbine. Any place with a large enough crowd and there’s always a chance. I’m sure I’m not the only one who worries, “What if someday it’s me? What if it’s someone I love?” I’m so tired of watching strangers die; I can’t imagine getting a call saying someone I know was cut down in what should have been a safe place, what should have been a good night, a fun experience.

I think it’s about time we as nation ask ourselves what we can do to stop this. The Morning Consult ran a national tracking poll last year that showed 62 percent of Americans support stricter gun control laws – and things like banning sales to those on the terror watchlist and those convicted of violent crimes, universal background checks and assault weapons bans are even more popular reforms. Those ideas aren’t about taking everyone’s guns; they’re about trying to protect more people. Gun owners and even NRA members I know support those types of reforms.

But Republican politicians tend to strike down gun control laws time after time, and I’m tired of them wishing well and claiming to say their prayers and taking no action. Those who are in a position to enact change should do so.

In Las Vegas Sunday, 59 people died at a concert under a hail of automatic weapon fire. They shouldn’t have died. They should have all gone home that night.

If we don’t talk about gun control now, then when? This keeps happening, and it just seems to get worse every time. Now is the time to do something, anything. I hear the calls to not politicize this, to think of the victims – I am thinking of them. And I wish people cared more about people than they care about guns.

Racey Burden is a Messenger reporter.

One Response to “Put people first, consider gun control”

  1. J.D. Goodwin says:

    So if I may…

    The Mandalay Bay hotel is a “gun free zone” meaning weapons, specifically guns of any type are strictly prohibited on the premises…

    Automatic weapons are illegal.

    Knocking the window out of the hotel is illegal.

    Shooting a firearm inside the city limits is illegal.

    Murder is illegal.

    This man had no history of any problems or mental illness.

    So please tell me what gun control, other than outright ban (which would never work because they could not confiscate all the guns already in the US) would have prevented this?

    Because I’m sure whatever Laws Congress could think up, would be the one he would be eager to have followed?

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