Daily Egyptian

Opinion: Why I gave up trying to fight gun violence

By Aaron Graff, @Graffintosh

I give up on society and no longer fear gun violence.

We’ve reached a point where we test our luck with everything we do, even if it is relaxing at home. People aren’t going to put the guns down, and nobody is going to prevent the violence.

Choose carefully. What shooting range do you want for vacation? What shooting range do you want to attend for school? What shooting range do you want to call home?

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I hate gun violence and always have. Politicians and police won’t prevent it. Citizens who commit these acts don’t realize they are causing harm to more people than those they shoot at.

We just can’t have it, especially on or near college campuses. They are the future. These are people with ambition.

Victims of gun violence don’t lose to gun violence. They have more power than anyone else to make movement against it. Either they survive and have a new, motivational lifestyle or they die and it brings out their best traits, which angers people that they are gone.

Each individual they inspire is another person who can speak out with their perspective.

Unfortunately, these movements die so fast.

Carbondale recently had three people shot in three days in two instances. The bond of local people after the first one gave me a little hope for the future. They spoke kind words of a victim, who was killed, in the first shooting. They spoke such angry words against gun violence.

But one person didn’t get the message, or forgot the message, and decided a gun was necessary to use against someone just two days later, taking away my hope.

More: 3 days, 3 people shot in Carbondale | Friends remember Tim Beaty

Sure, people can say Carbondale is a safer place than recent events make it seem, and I agree. But the world is not safe and it hasn’t been for a long time.

Any normal day can turn traumatic for anyone anywhere.

So politicians, naturally, fight tooth and nail.

“See, if that person had a gun, they could use it and they wouldn’t be attacked.”

“See, if there were stronger laws or mandatory background checks, that person wouldn’t have a gun to attack them.”

Both arguments hold equal value and contradiction, but they’re also hindsight.

Some claim President Barack Obama is trying to take guns away so the government can control everything citizens can do. Others don’t see any reason for a person to have a gun unless they intend to harm others with it.

Really? Those who say these things ruin a constructive debate.

It’s impossible to really think about the future when there are already so many guns out there, and so many in the hands of bad people.

People, including those who protect and serve, have made mistakes with guns. Background checks can only cover so much. Where would the line be drawn to say one can own a gun or not? Previous misuse of weapons? A violent history? Traffic tickets? Humans aren’t perfect and it would be inefficient to pay for background checks and a judge of each individual trying to purchase.

But you’ve heard all of this before. In an hour, a day or a week, none of this may matter.

I’m not going to buy a gun to “defend myself.” It would probably be more dangerous to have one than not.

That’s my choice. Everyone is entitled to their purchase, but they should be educated about safety and be mentally stable.

However, I won’t trust anyone with a gun on their person. Some of them intend to use it for bad reasons. Some make mistakes. Either way, we live in an age where we have to be aware of our surroundings.

For now, I’ll just stay at the bottom of the gun chain, realizing I really can’t do much to stop the issue even if it affects me directly.

Acceptance is the last stage of grief, and all I can do is just that and hope it doesn’t happen anymore because all I’ve heard is talk and the shots getting closer.

MORE: How safe do you feel in Carbondale? Join the conversation here.

I beg someone to prove me wrong. This isn’t about how politicians or police officers can help us. It’s about how we can help each other.

Put the guns down.

Aaron Graff can be reached at [email protected] or 618-536-3334.

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