Gun Violence Op-Ed by the PTS ACLU
Updated: Feb 15, 2019
By: The PTS ACLU
Rohan Myers, President, Falconer Contributor
Andy Shodell, Co-Vice President, Falconer Staff
Antonella Cueva, Co-Vice President, Falconer Staff
February 14, 2019
The people of the United States are aware that hundreds of school shootings have occurred over the past decade. Then people talk. We are told that more gun ownership correlates with increased violent crime, but that more gun ownership is associated with less violent crime; that more gun regulation heeds less police killings, but so does less regulation; that the only cause of school shootings is the mind of the person behind the weapon, but the only cause of school shootings is their access to a weapon with range and lethal capabilities.
The reason that we know all of these statistics is because they have all been stated as fact by public figures -- no matter how contradictory and impossible. Yet all of the statistics are true -- to themselves.
The point is that many politicians cherry-pick statistics -- they choose the convenient ones and tend to leave out the rest that do not fit a larger agenda. Statistics may be compiled from widely varying demographics and areas, posed with slightly different wording, many times employing partisan undertones; this creates a frustratingly incomplete picture of our reality, and therefore a warped version of what the future should hold. These partial numbers and facts are continually churned out by many groups. This includes the defenders of Americans’ fundamental right to own a firearm for safety or hunting (most prominently represented by the National Rifle Association), and the defenders of Americans’ safety in a country with a high amount of gun violence (mostly forming smaller grassroots groups and Everytown for Gun Safety). Needless to say, many interest groups and lobbyists are not necessarily motivated by what is objectively best for the American people. The ACLU and other nonpartisan organizations (some linked below) have released statistics and articles trying to cut down to the truth of gun violence in our nation; these help us form a holistic view of the relationship between the U.S. and firearms, stripping most insincere and misleading information.
Everyone with an informed position on this issue has legitimate concerns for our collective safety and well-being. It’s why on this important day, the one year anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, we echo the students’ calls for unity -- for communal action to protect our schools, and our nation. We wear maroon and orange together today not only to keep the victims of the tragedy in our mind, but to go beyond by wearing their memory, speaking their voices, and acting in a way that would hopefully make them proud. Students have led this effort, in the most recent instance of the country's long history being set on track by youth. In this nation where students played a role in effectively ending the Vietnam War, conducting civil disobedience against Jim Crow, and divesting from Apartheid, we -- together -- lead this latest front by advocating for our rights and safety.