Empowerment

Prayers and Sympathies Don’t Bring Anyone Back

It's time to take real action

311. That’s how many mass shooting have happened in the United States in 2018 and all we offer the victims and their families is our prayers and sympathies.

When we ask for gun reform right after a shooting, our politicians say it isn’t the time to talk about it. That we should be honoring those who lost their lives. It’s as if these leaders who work for us think the best thing we can all offer victims is just prayers and sympathies. I can’t think of a more fitting way to honor those lives lost than by implementing laws that make it harder for this to happen.

The fact of the matter is that while your prayers and sympathies come from a good place, they don’t bring anyone back.

Ron Helus, Hannah Ahlers, and Irving Youngers won’t be brought back as a result of your prayers and sympathy.

What we can do is advocate for change. After the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, the issue of gun rights was once again at the center of conversation. We saw the March for Our Lives protest go viral with The Hill estimating that at least a million people participated across the nation.

A recent Gallup poll showed that 61% of people think laws covering gun sales should be made more strict. If more than half our population wants stricter gun laws, why don’t we have them?

The answer is complicated. Every day citizens who don’t want restrictions are at times the loudest voices. A lot of people also blame the NRA for paying off politicians in favor of receiving less restrictive laws.The National Rifle association has spent $48 million on lobbyists since 1990.

The NRA also invested $30 million in Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign and at least $20 million on GOP candidates.

All of that money is going to powerful people who will advocate for the NRA no matter who loses their life. As long as the money keeps coming that’s all that matters.

The only way to advocate and hopefully achieve stricter gun laws is by going up against the NRA. Think of the NRA as the Donald Trump of gun lobbyists. Their spokespeople are often hot-headed, tweeting insensitive messages.

The point is this- if you care enough to offer your prayers and sympathies to the thousands being impacted by gun violence, then you have time to advocate on their behalf.

Call your local representatives. Get involved in local advocacy groups. Convince your friends to register to vote and vote for those politicians who will care about human lives.

The recent midterm elections show that many support politicians who advocate for gun control. The most notable of the bunch is Lucy McBath who won Georgia’s 6th Congressional district. Lucy got involved with politics and gun control after her son Jordan Davis was shot to death in 2012.

States notoriously pro-gun ownership have been flipped and we’re seeing more gun control laws passed on a state level. While it isn’t making the headway nationally that it should be, the local level is where real change happens.

Americans own almost half of the 650 million estimated civilian-owned guns worldwide. There’s an estimated 310 million guns available to American civilians. India has the second largest population of civilian-owned firearms coming in at 46 million. See the problem?

The United States has made it so easy for everyone to get a gun, whether legally or illegally. The only way we will see this change is if we work hard in implementing gun laws.

Save your prayers and sympathies because we don’t need them. What we need you to do is to actually put in work. Find a gun control advocacy group and walk your talk.

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Davyn is a journalism student at Arizona State University. During her free...