On a day typically reserved for sharing how much you love your significant other, your friends, family, and children, 17 families learned that the last words they exchanged with their children, spouses, and friends that day would be the last they'd ever hear from them.
I learned about the shooting taking place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. via the "story" on a news agency's Snapchat feed. I, like many Americans, felt an initial sadness in my heart that quickly grew to anger and confusion.
When you're angry about something, it is easy to find the quickest thing involved in the situation to blame. Unfortunately, I think this has led to one of the biggest issues facing America today: a lack of placing the blame where it actually belongs.
Have you watched the news lately? The only thing that you hear about following a mass shooting is how mentally disturbed the shooter was and perhaps a feature piece on the victims, but most of the coverage is dedicated to re-sparking the gun control debate.
Let's be honest folks, guns aren't what kill people. You could sit a gun on a front porch and it isn't going to harm anyone unless someone picks it up and pulls the trigger. The problem with American is starkly illustrated by the fact that blame is never put where it belongs.
Look at the facts: According to a June 2017 study published by the Pew Research Center, about 30 percent of Americans own a gun. While that leaves about 70 percent of Americans without guns, 36 percent of that 70 percent said they could see themselves owning a gun in the future.
Overwhelmingly, the facts show that legal gun owners aren't actually doing much crime with their firearms. In 2016, The Washington Post sited that a University of Pittsburg study found that less than one-fifth of gun crimes were committed by legal gun owners. While many reports show that 80 percent of mass shooting weapons are purchased legally, that doesn't mean that the person actually using the gun is legally authorized to do so. You see this with underaged students who take their parent's gun to school. In the case of the San Bernardino shootings, the male shooter, Syed Rizwan Farook, purchased two pistols legally, but the two rifles used in the shooting were not purchased by him. As you can see, the stats can become skewed when taking these points in mind.
Because legal gun owners do far fewer of the gun crimes, how can people call for an overhaul of gun ownership laws? How can people call for the removal of guns from legal and responsible owners' homes?
SO WHAT'S THE REAL PROBLEM?
The real problem with mass shootings is all about the psychology. Today's world if full of technology and mental illnesses that can contribute to someone's inclination to become a mass shooter. Here are just a few of the things that can lead to this:
As you can see, it is blatantly the person behind the weapon that causes the real harm. Many people are able to control guns safely and responsibly to help enforce the safety of the areas around them. Why should those people be punished when mentally ill people or those who are psychologically brainwashed and radicalized are the ones doing the crimes?
Our country has done a real disservice to its citizens, not because it doesn't ultimately demand and enforce stricter gun laws, but because its leaders refuse to acknowledge and offer proper care to the mentally ill, its media actively promotes the devaluation of human life to malleable minds and the mentally ill, and its parents don't make their children accountable for their actions.