Nonfiction

The Blood of Innocents

USA Half Mast by Computron licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

By Ryan Hamilton

Once again, the United States has been struck by tragedy and horror. Many of us, myself included, went to sleep a week ago, on Sunday night, October 1st, without thinking anything was wrong. All of us awoke with the horror splashed across our screens.

There will be many questions asked over the next weeks, some of which are easier to answer and others which are harder: who, where, how, when and why?

There is a time for mourning, and it is now. However, we will soon enter the time for rage. It is unfair, it is wrong, and we should be mad. Being mad is not something to be ashamed of. It means that we know something needs to be done. We should not try to outlast that anger; we should embrace it. Something went wrong, and it is now our job to fix it.

That is not playing politics. If there was a plane crash caused by a lack of maintenance, a law would be passed to make sure it doesn’t happen again. When something goes wrong, we are supposed to learn from it. That is a lesson that applies from poor time management, submitting a bad assignment, all the way to structural failures in buildings. Fixing those problems is not playing politics. When the Grenfell Tower burned in London in June, the flammable material was identified and removed from other buildings. Imagine what would have happened if those steps were not taken and dozens more died in the same accident.

There are very little pieces of good to come from these horrific events. But let us do something and take down the flammable material. Eddie Justice died in the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando in June 2016, along with 48 others.  At the time, it was the worst mass shooting in US history. That record has now been surpassed. Their deaths failed to inspire us to take action to save the lives of others. They died in vain. So did Dawn Hochsprung, the principal of Sandy Hook elementary school and her colleagues and students who were killed that awful day in 2013. They were taken from their friends and families in a horrific way. One of the most horrific ways is that the pain of their families is being repeated again right now.

When 35 people were killed in Australia in 1996, gun control legislation was passed. It was done respectfully and has lead to a decrease in gun crime in Australia. Gun deaths dropped 50% immediately after that legislation was passed. The legacy of those 35 people is a solution that will save the lives of countless others. That is a comfort that I wish the families going through the same pain right now could receive.  

If there was flammable material left up, taking it down is not an option. It is the only option. If people were found to have knowingly left it up and another fire happened, they would be prosecuted. Solving a problem to save lives is not playing politics during a tragedy. It is quite simply the job of politicians. So take action to stop gun deaths, or others must.

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