At a time when there was to be joy, December 2017, instead for Rihanna and her family there was a tragic event. Rihanna had spent Christmas with her beloved cousin, 21-year-old Tavon Kaiseen Alleyne in her home area of Barbados in the Caribbean. But, one evening Tavon was walking home around 7p.m. when he was approached by a man with gun who shot him multiple times and then fled the scene. He later passed away at the hospital.
This led to Rihanna’s plea on her Instagram account to stop gun violence. She used the hashtag #endgunviolence to help spread the message throughout the internet…and that it did. There are many other similar hashtags that resonate the same sentiment #sandyhook #stoptheviolence, #enoughisenough, whatever the hashtag and whatever the reason these hashtags were created because someone experienced the hurt and pain caused by gun violence.
GUN VIOLENCE AND REGULATIONS
According to the Constitution of the United States, law-abiding citizens have the right to “bear arms”, which means to own guns. Some people who interpret that to mean that “we” as a collective can bear arms, but should not as individuals and others interpret is to mean that we all should bear arms. It’s complicated, nevertheless, the fact remains that this debate has led to many people taking possession of guns legally and illegally, and if you ask each person who has a gun or uses a gun,each will say they are justified in having one.So, herein lies the problem of regulation and maintaining control of guns. According to Harvard School of Public Health Injury Control Center, “More guns in a community leads to more homicides”. Which leads to a push for stricter gun laws. But we all know it’s not just the guns themselves but the people behind the guns, that causes the problem, too. Additionally, it’s not just the “enemies”, adversaries and strangers that pose this risk to our lives with guns. They can be family members too.
Just this Christmas, another family tragedy occurred as the result of gun violence. This time a father shot and killed his own innocent children, in addition to him shooting their mother.
Anthony Milan Ross a 45-year-old chef is accused of killing his two children on Christmas Eve. He preceded their deaths with a video he posted to Facebook. The hauting video was of Anthony and his son singing a Christmas carol. In itself, the video is not so strange, but the fact that Anthony allegedly made the video before shooting his family to death, is bizarre.
GUN VIOLENCE AND MENTAL ILLNESS
So we see that gun violence can be exacerbated when combined with mental health issues. Milan Ross had mental illness. His daughters from a previous relationship have expressed to the media that he abused them. Ebony and Shalonda Ross were able to get past their father’s abuse due to therapy and counseling they received, but they are heartbroken to hear that another family has suffered because of their father’s problems.
In an interview to 12News Shalonda cried “My heart is broken for Ms. Iris’s family,” , but she also described that her experiences living with her father included “punching, choking, and slapping,”. She would have to stay home from school until her bruises went away. So, a lot of people are of the opinion that gun violence is very much tied to mental illness.After the unfortunate event of the Las Vegas massacre in which a 59 people were killed by a gunman, President Trump told reporters at a news conference ““I think that mental health is your problem here”.
However we must remember that there are many people with mental illnesses who are not violent. Jefferey Swanson a professor at Duke University points out that it’s unfair to target the mentally ill as the problem. A university study of 82,000 mentally ill people “found that they were no more likely to use a gun to harm others than the rest of the population”.
GUN VIOLENCE AND OUR YOUTH
Gun violence is the leading cause of homicides among children and youths. The United States is the number one developed country with the highest gun related deaths, eclipsing other countries. Ironically, the number one reason youths and young adults feel they need to have guns is to protect themselves from other people who have guns, according to the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center states that “The No. 1 reason they had a gun was to protect themselves or feel safer” So, this never-ending cycle of gun-ownership “I need a gun because you have a gun” often leads to deadly consequences…and it’s out of control.
GUN VIOLENCE AND EDUCATION
People throughout the nation are rallying for more restrictive gun laws and gun reform. Reform that requires more control through background checks, concealed weapon permits, concealed carry permits, but what we might need more of is actually education and gun injury prevention research. According to Epidemilogic Reviews, a study of 10 countries showed that “new legal restrictions on owning and purchasing guns tended to be followed by a drop in gun violence”. Studies also show that we can benefit from greater education and gun prevention research.There are many different factors that have to be considered in approaching the gun violence problem. There are strong arguments on both sides of the fence for those who want more gun control and those who advocate for less gun control.Despite the arguments for or against, we can all agree that no one wants to see any more gun violence, at all. End Gun Violence. #endgunviolence