By Alyssa Martin—Features Editor

Earlier this month, I saw a shocking image on social media. This picture illustrated all the mass shootings that have happened worldwide since January 2019.

Many countries had zero mass shootings. A few countries had less than 10, and then there was the United States. At the very top of the list, a three-digit number. 249 was crossed out with a red line and 250 was written next to it. I was astonished at the difference in numbers between countries, and it made me wonder: “Why the difference?” 

Today, it seems as if there is news about mass shootings or attempts thereof nearly every few weeks. With these incidents becoming normalized in our country, the majority of people try to place blame on our second amendment right and how easy it is to acquire firearms. 

In an article published by The Guardian earlier this year following the Christchurch Massacre in New Zealand, Nick Evershed looked at gun control laws around the world, specifically Australia. 

Evershed highlighted a number of studies regarding Australian gun laws and stated since certain laws have been in place, there have not been many shootings. The major part of the gun laws is the amount of security and the process of purchasing a firearm, including background checks.

While making it more difficult for people to obtain firearms, I am not confident it will resolve this issue. Most of the time after these incidents occur, the shooters are diagnosed with some sort of mental illness or it is verified through loved ones of such. 

Last month, Time magazine published an article called “Politicians Keep Blaming Mass Shootings on Mental Health Issues. Doctors Say They’re Wrong.” As the title suggests, throughout the article, Jaime Ducharme pulls social media posts as well as studies and comments from psychologists and other doctors which states easy access to guns is the cause of mass shootings and gun violence, not mental health issues, as portrayed throughout media and rhetoric of politicians. 

I do not think it is fair to generalize every person with a mental illness by stating they will commit an act like this; however, I do not necessarily think it is not a contributing factor in some of the incidents so ubiquitous in our society. 

Whatever the cause, it frightens me how normal it is for elementary-aged children to know exactly what to do if someone comes into their school with a gun, or how many college students think about someone perceived as a threat coming on their campus while they are walking to class or studying. These things are not normal, and they should not be treated as such. Whatever the cause, it needs to be pinpointed, and steps must be taken to stop this epidemic before it happens again. 

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