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Robert Dickerson: Gun Violence Plagues America

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By Robert Dickerson

This is an Opinion

Gun violence plagues us. When I started to write this article, fresh in the headlines were the shooting in Buffalo, where a racist gunned down 10 innocent Black people who were shopping and Texas, where 19 children were gunned down. Since the school shooting in Uvalde, over 30 mass shootings have occurred, killing at least 18 people.

Not a week goes by when someone is not shot and killed right here in Birmingham. All over America, this plague, this epidemic, is running rampant. Yet, nothing seems to be done. We hold press conferences, condemn the perpetrators, pray for the families, and have funerals.

 After every mass shooting, people offer thoughts and prayers for the victims, their family’s and loved ones which is very appropriate however there are times when thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. When a deranged shooter kills students, thoughts and prayers are not enough, it should be followed by outrage and action to reform laws that allow easy access to these weapons.

I believe in prayer. I believe that prayer changes things, but I also think that prayer reveals courses of action. Through prayer, we receive direction, ideas, clarity, and courage, all the things we need to act.

The gun lobby is quick to say that guns are not the problem, it’s the people with the guns. At the same time Republicans and perhaps a couple Democrats in the United States Senate will not participate in a meaningful effort to pass laws that requires the types of background checks that surely might have saved lives in these last two mass shootings and others. If an 18-year-old with obvious personality issues evidenced by publicly available social media postings can legally purchase two assault rifles doesn’t bother you, I don’t know what does.

So far, in 2022, there have been 27 school shootings and some 246 mass shootings which are defined as “three or more victims of gun violence (not including the shooter) shot in a short period of time”. The year isn’t half over, and there are likely to be more by the time this article is published. Yet, in many states, including Texas and right here in Alabama, people will decry the actions of the murderers while allowing anyone with the money, to walk into a gun store and purchase these assault weapons. Please remember that military-style assault rifles have no purpose other than killing people. They’re not easily concealed, they aren’t for protection and are not the weapon of choice for people who hunt for sport or food. They serve only one purpose, to kill people.

And if the Sandy Hooks the Buffalos and the Uvaldes don’t do it, what will it take to have lawmakers do something about this problem? The gun lobby certainly seems to have all the power and influence. Maybe they’re holding guns to the heads of members of congress, especially senators in the GOP.

WHAT will it take to pass common-sense gun laws? The polls tell us that the overwhelming majority of Americans favor more stringent regulations, so it is time that the majority breaks its silence, speak out and be heard.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-gun. I am pro safety, pro responsibility. I am not against gun owners, but I am against the murders that occur in our neighborhoods, the drive-by shootings that randomly taking of innocent lives, and the mass murders. I’m against someone killing people on the same day they bought the weapon! I don’t think there’s an argument that fewer guns will not result in fewer shootings, and whatever it takes to result in fewer shootings, deaths, and funerals, I’m all for it.. I just hope we can all come together and put our ideas and energy into finding solutions for this epidemic that plaques us.

Robert Dickerson is founder and the executive director of the Birmingham Business Resource Center.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.