Jet Turner

Jet Turner

8,794 deaths.

17,478 injuries.

255 mass shootings.

Where does this madness end?

As of Aug. 5, these are the numbers of deaths and injuries caused by mass shootings in America this year alone, according to nonprofit organization gun violence archive.

In the past 12 days there have been five high-profile mass shootings. Over 100 people were shot in:

A shooting in a historic district of Dayton, Ohio. Nine killed, 27 injured; A shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Twenty-two killed, 24 wounded -- the deadliest shooting of the year; A shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area. Three killed, 15 injured; A shooting at a Brooklyn block party. One killed, 11 injured; A shooting at a Walmart in Southaven, Mississippi. Two killed, two injured.

Again I ask, where does this madness end?

We live in a country that, right now, values its guns over the lives of its citizens.

People will argue it’s not a “gun problem,” it’s a “person problem.” You’re right. You know what the solution is? Stricter gun laws.

Others will argue it’s a “mental health problem.” You might also be right. The solution? Stricter gun laws.

The classic “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” argument might be valid, but the only way to make things better is with stricter gun laws.

What is the purpose of an average American owning any type of assault-style weapon? What (or who) are you assaulting with these weapons? Do you actually need these weapons?

The answer, more than likely, is no.

No one is going to “take your guns away” or “go against the constitution” by executing stricter gun laws, but it has to be more difficult for people who would commit crimes like this to get a hold of assault-style weapons.

Right now, the only way I am seeing assault weapons being used in the U.S. is in mass shootings.

396 children between the ages of 0-11 and 1,814 teenagers between the ages of 12-17 have been injured or died because of mass shootings in America. How many more have to die before there is any change?

Why is America so afraid of change?

People are literally dying because lawmakers and certain American’s hold assault weapons in higher regard than the lives of someone’s spouse, parent or child.

It should also be pointed out Texas is an open-carry state, and you can open-carry in a Walmart in Texas. People will argue we “need” laws like this so we can stop mass shootings, yet no one did anything to stop the shooter in El Paso.

America continues to have one of the highest rates of gun violence compared to other first-world countries. Again the question must be asked, why is America so afraid of change?

Don’t let a vocal minority dictate the future of those we care about. How much longer are we going to tolerate the cold-blooded murder of American men, women and children before we let go of our past and initiate some actual change?

Don’t blame video games, television, how you were raised or anything else. Blame our lawmakers. Blame our country. America has made it too easy for people to obtain these weapons. We only have ourselves to blame for that.

Now, more than ever, we need to change. If not now, I’m not sure we will ever see the change necessary to keep our citizens safe. We should not have to feel afraid to do everyday things like going to Walmart, or to the movies.

I urge you to contact your congressmen and tell them you refuse to let assault weapons hold more value than human lives.

Let’s end this madness, together.

Jet Turner is the Stillwater News Press summer intern.