There’s more to gun control than your Facebook indicates

Olivia Ducharme

Guest column by Olivia Ducharme, senior creative writing major

On Nov. 5, many news outlets and social media sites were covered with #PrayforTexas, eerily similar to six weeks ago when we were hit with #PrayforVegas. But, unlike after the Vegas massacre, I didn’t cry; thanks to Facebook users, murder and domestic terrorism in the U.S. have become desensitized.

In Sutherland Springs, Texas, a First Baptist Church was in service when a white male in his mid-20s opened fire on both adults and children, according to CNN. At least 26 have died from the sustained injuries, up to 14 of which were children, launching the numbers to the highest toll of children involved in a massacre since the Sandy Hook Massacre five years ago. 84 people have died as a result of both men in Vegas and Texas opening fire at events and places that are generally considered safe.

Both men are white, American citizens and obtained their firearms legally. We see it happen every time: People flood Facebook feeds with “thoughts and prayers” before heading back to their everyday lives, which they can do, because they weren’t the ones cowering under pews or jumping over barricades, wondering if they would live or die.

In the days following each shooting, I open my Facebook to see post after post with the same sentiments. “Eliminate guns. Now.” or “Defend the Second Amendment!” Most articles that make it to circulation also seem to maintain the same content about the shooter, the victims and the aftermath. There is an almost interchangeable nature to these massacres, which can numb the catastrophe. It’s time we step away from our screens and discuss what we can do preventatively, both at federal and local levels.

It would be easy to spit my liberal antics about gun control, stricter background checks and that we shouldn’t be able to purchase guns at somewhere as common as Walmart – but that wouldn’t change anything. Instead, I’d be written off as someone with an agenda. President Donald Trump has already called the Texas massacre a “mental health problem,” but lumping people who are mentally ill with murderers is sadistic. As a result, I stayed away from Facebook on Nov. 5.

We can take to Facebook to scream about the federal government’s policies, and the gun owners will try to cling on even tighter to their firearms. “We need them to protect ourselves against the crazies! How will we defend ourselves?” seems to be the constant response. However, I believe that Las Vegas would have resulted in even further damage had there been gunfire from both sides. And when it happens again, Facebook will continue to light up with hashtags, “thoughts and prayers,” and temporary frames for our profile pictures. We’ll get inundated with photos of the murderers, and the victims will be in the spotlight for a day.

The argument was never meant to be about guns, but the value of human life. The issue is not gun ownership, but the lack of background checks in different parts of the country, along with open carry policies. This only increases the number of massacres we experience every year.

On the other hand, the Port Arthur Massacre in Australia in 1996 left 35 people dead – and the gun laws were immediately made stricter, according to NBC. As a result, citizens are unable to purchase automatic and semi-automatic firearms and rifles without justified reasoning. There have been zero mass shootings in Australia the last 21 years, according to the BBC. Perhaps it’s time for us to look away from our Facebook home screens, and instead turn to other countries for help with preventative action against gun violence.


  • Young Olivia, let me clarify several things you haven’t considered. First of all, according to the NPR, the United States has the 31st highest rate of gun deaths in the world, thus it isn’t the issue you make it out to be. Second, you don’t clarify your statistics. For example, you are including suicides among gun deaths. According to the New York Times, over 60% of gun deaths are suicides, so you’ve failed to consider that. Next let’s discuss your theory. How about the city of Chicago, which has the most strict gun laws in the country, yet has the highest percentage of gun violence. Hate to break this to you, but when predators know that their prey can’t defend themselves, more predators emerge. Lastly, the Texas shooter did not purchase his weapons legally. He was dishonorably discharged from the military which precluded him from legally buying weapons. If you took the time to do some actual research, you may be more aware of how things in this world work. No guns for you, so be it. Let me know if you make it when someone breaks in and the police take several minutes to respond, because people like me won’t be there to help. Ohh by the way, did you consider that the individual who ended the Texas shooting was a law abiding citizen with a gun? Odd! Doesn’t fit your narrative, does it?

  • “Lumping people who are mentally ill with murderers is sadistic”
    Please tell me this is a joke?

    • Unfortunately, I don’t think it was. This is newspeak on a whole new level, and it is mind-boggling how someone can feel so self-righteously offended over something that was said as a matter of fact.

  • You do know Ms. Ducharme that the Sutherland Springs shooter was stopped by a good guy with a gun. If he hadn’t been there the carnage would have been much worse. In rural places, it can take law enforcement a considerable amount of time before arrival. This is why it is so crucial for law abiding people to have firearms. Just as conservatives should talk to those they disagree with, I would encourage you to seek the perspective of Chapman students from rural areas to get there perspective.

  • Olivia im gonna say this as nicely as i can given the amount of misconceptions you have written here. if you like the way Australia has disarmed they’re people and you wanna live like that go live there, here in America that will never happen because of people like me. i will never surrender any of my rights so you can live in fairy tail land. this world is full of evil people and the only way to defend yourself from guys like the recent shooters is to kill them, anybody with 2 brain cells knows that. Thanks to years of liberal idiotic policies we now have a country full of these guys plus terrorists and foreign criminals just living here mostly at the taxpayers expense. So if you really think you have a chance to disarm the American people i suggest you either think again or suit up and do it personally, either way you wont have to worry about it anymore

  • Perhaps Australia’s gun buyback worked (somewhat) because they are on an ISLAND. America is connected to Mexico, which, despite its hardline ban on guns, is overflowing with illegal weapons that always find their way into America (perhaps a wall would fix that, but I don’t want to come off as racist).

    Instead of twisting facts to fit your viewpoint, why don’t you twist your viewpoint based off of the facts? That is true critical thinking.

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