Can Las Vegas be the last straw?

Natalynn Rivis, a student at University of Nevada Las Vegas, right, takes part in a vigil Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. A gunman on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino hotel rained automatic weapons fire down on the crowd of over 22,000 at an outdoor country music festival Sunday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

AP

Natalynn Rivis, a student at University of Nevada Las Vegas, right, takes part in a vigil Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. A gunman on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay casino hotel rained automatic weapons fire down on the crowd of over 22,000 at an outdoor country music festival Sunday. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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Here we are again. At the mercy of yet another mass shooting.

As the death toll in Las Vegas continues to rise, Americans can’t help feeling helpless. We as a society feel exposed because we are 2,000 times more likely to be killed by another American than by a terrorist. The younger generations of our great country are becoming numb to the surplus of mass shootings that have taken place since Columbine, and this should not be the case.

Enough is enough.

It is time to stop living in between brief periods of fear and even shorter periods of calling for action without any true reform taking place.

The United States of America is a great country that is plagued by subtle evils, and following the latest “Deadliest Mass Shooting in US History”, more have been brought to light. Mental illness, gun control, and the illegal gun trade have all affected the country in a negative manner.

Our inability to treat mental illnesses correctly is putting citizens at risk. Those whom are mentally ill need proper treatment and medication without feeling stereotyped by society. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 25 adults in the United States has a serious mental illness that significantly interferes with their everyday life. If our society loses the stigma that all people with mental illnesses are beyond help or just “crazy people”, then more people will seek treatment. When the severely mentally ill pose a risk to those around them, and if nothing is done, then it becomes time to take action.

The debate over gun control rolls on in our country. Isn’t there a certain point where we as a people should become overly exhausted by the sheer amount of death caused yearly? In 2016 alone there were 15,079 gun related deaths in America, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Why is it that startling number only true in America? Overseas in Western Europe the amount of gun related crimes is far below ours. In fact, the US gun related murder rate is 25 times higher. How is it that these wealthy, modernized countries have solved the problem before us? The truth is that many of these countries have either outright banned the ownership of firearms or restricted them to a point where gun related crimes are uncommon. One of the best examples of a country taking control of gun laws is Australia. Back in 1996, after a shooting in Port Arthur, Australia, the Australian government took action. Merely two weeks after the shooting, new gun laws were rolled out under the National Firearms Agreement, prohibiting private gun sales and establishing a national firearms registry. A large part of the new legislation was a giant buyback program, where after certain types of guns were banned outright, like semi-automatic rifles, the government bought back hundreds of thousands of those weapons from gun owners. Others who were in possession of illegal firearms were able to turn them in without penalty of law. Since these laws were passed, gun related homicide in Australia has dropped a whopping 60%. While the unreasonably powerful gun lobbyists in the United States may make this kind of change difficult, we should have hope.

I urge every reader to reach out and call, email, or write a letter to your representatives. If we do not show our leaders that we need change, then no change will follow. With no change, we will only continue to be encumbered with tragedy and despair. So please take action and speak up for what you believe in.

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