In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre that took the lives of nearly 60 people, the worst modern-USA shooting to take place, we are at the equivalent of a nuclear crisis after being bombed. The only difference is it’s guns and the perpetrator against the world is the world itself. For far too long, we as a species have been more reactionary to gun violence than proactive. It begs the question: how are we the smartest and most thriving species on the face of the earth, yet the most self-destructive? We repeat the same steps when situations like these happen: 1. shots get fired, 2. people get killed, 3. people panic/get anxious, 4. the news creates the dramatic breaking news intro, 5. the news replaces the dramatic intro with the somber and emotionally captivating intro with high resolution graphics from scenes from the event, 6. we gather and mourn with vigils and memorials, 7. the pundits and the opposers get on the news circuits and talk about the issues, 8. politicians make their remarks and may show up in support of the victims and their families.
The list could go on and on but it’s as if we are on repeat. Violence in the world and more specifically the United States has boiled over to now affect places we never thought of. One could spin it as political. One could delve into conspiracies. But the situations remain the same. And here’s the kicker for us Americans: it’s not isolated to one race. Remember when it was just Blacks killing Blacks? It was just “them” killing each other. Chuck it up to drugs. Or when it was Muslims? We dub it as a “terrorist attack”. But what about Vegas? How shall we spin this one? It was a white male mowing down other white Americans. I have yet to see one “person of color” shown in the the pictures of victims now passed or victims who survived. How shall we spin it? And just to make sure we give both of Americas ball a good kick, here’s another kicker: talking about the issue of gun violence has changed a thing since Columbine.
It’s unfortunate that the situation has become so bad that now all of a sudden people are forced to change their views of guns in this society, namely assault riffles, automatic and semi-automatic weapons and the need for an overhaul on mental health in the United States. No one is safe from the dangers. You can be in Paris at a rock concert or in Hong Kong for a little getaway from the monotony of Western culture or enjoying a safari on the plains of the Serengeti and violence finds you. A celebration of life or a journey completed gets ended in a barrage of bullets. And the violence can be carried out without prejudice killing the most innocent, like elementary school children or a family at a movie. No longer is the violence over the fence or affecting “those people over there”. Even Miami, where we may have the some of the hardest “street folk”, isn’t safe (remember the shooting at Fort Lauderdale International Airport last year ).
This message is to millennial: it’s time we stopped riding the coat tails of the work done by our parents, grandparents and those who came before. They lived in different times and lived during the golden era of pomp and circumstance, manners, and good living. They fought for a way of life familiar with their time that will soon be as unfamiliar to us as corsets and iron-clad soldiers. It is time that we demand change from our politicians by either ousting them from office because they are too old and senile to affect the right kind of change through legislation, OR we put people like us who are tired of the violence in office. We as Americans have the wherewithal to not only affect change on mental health and gun violence but to also be the change makers. It is a shame how many politicians have the gun lobby in their pockets, like your vice-president and mine. It’s time to demand they call the gun lobby to the carpet. It’s rather interesting that in the wake of Vegas, we have heard nothing from them even on social media. Not a letter of comfort, hope, empathy, or even like POTUS, something inappropriate at a time like this. Just complete silence. Now is not the time for the cat to have your tongue.
It is time we took to the phones and demanded of our family members, friends and social networks that they call and write legislators in DC, state capitols, locally and everywhere to make a change. Protesting the national anthem (a right under the US Constitution, which mentions no flag) is great to give attention to, but long gone are the days of protest. It is time we literally took to doors and demanded change. Banning assault riffles, banning items that modify semi-automatic riffles and the freedom to carry these unnecessary items in the most vulnerable of places is a must. We need to do something about this now because tomorrow, it could be the metrorail or Brickell City Centre or Bayside or Hard Rock Stadium or Marlins Stadium or Calle Ocho, or SW 112 Avenue. No one is safe from being a victim unless we exercise our rights, become proactive and demand more.
When it happens to you, it will be the perfect time to “WISH” you had done something, but then it will be a little too late. So, if you’re ready, subscribe to Miami Under 40 and stay tuned for our next post with state officials you can call to demand changes to guns in America.