As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton squared off, head to head, for the first time at Monday night's first presidential debate of the year, it was clear that gun violence took front stage. The two of them clashed for ninety-five minutes at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York about why they would be our best option for President of the United States. Naturally, they were asked many questions about current issues in our nation. And though the two candidates don't usually agree on much, they certainly did agree on one thing. This issue, as anyone could probably guess, was gun control.
On Monday night, the focus was specifically on the city of Chicago, Illinois. Chicago, which has one of the highest crime rates in the nation, is known to have many shootings each year and was even compared by Republican candidate to a "war-torn country". Both Clinton and Trump gave ideas on how to fix the issue of violence in the city. Trump said that he would want to take guns away from those who are felons and who have dangerous histories with violence. He also also said that he would consider implementing a stop-and frisk act into the city. Hillary Clinton said that stop-and-frisks has been tested before, and that they have provided little change. Clinton later called for our government's money to be used to retrain United States police officers.
Donald Trump, who is endorsed by the NRA, was not expected to support gun control during this, but he did. Usually, Trump sticks to the basics of gun ownership in the United States by stating that it is a personal right. Many supporters of a Trump candidacy were even surprised by his words on Monday night. In the past, he has said that he doesn't support things like stronger background checks or a ban on assault weapons. This was the first time that Donald Trump advocated for gun control.
I think that whoever wins this year's presidential election has to do something about this issue of gun violence in our country, as well as in the city of Chicago. I know that this city has struggled for years on this issue so it would be nice to finally see things improve for the people of Chicago. I hope that come next year, the newly elected president will identify this issue and speak more on how they can resolve the conflict in the city. I believe that we will make progress on this issue not only in Chicago, but across the country. This is not an issue that we can fix overnight, but with time, we can make great strides toward success in creating safer neighborhoods for people in the United States.
Our country has seen many different shootings over the years. Most of the time, these shootings claim the life of one victim. Occasionally though, shootings take the lives of many people. These events are know as "mass shootings". Typically, a mass shooting involves at least four people being killed, not including the person responsible for the assassination.
The deadliest shooting on U.S. soil took place this past June. On June 12, 2016, a man named Omar Mateen killed 49 people in an Orlando, Florida nightclub. The nightclub, known as Pulse, is known to be popular in the LGBT community. Because of this, it is believed that this shooting was a hate crime against members of the LGBT community. On the day that the shooting occurred, it was Latin Night at Pulse. As a result, the majority of the victims were Latino.
In addition to the 49 people that died during this attack, there were 53 others that faced non-fatal injuries. This statistic alone has made it the deadliest terrorist attack in the United States since the attacks on September 11, 2001. The shooter, an Islamic extremist, proclaimed that he was an ISIS supporter during a 9-1-1 call that took place just after the shooting began. This has caused this tragedy to be classified as a terroristic attack.
After a standoff lasting about three hours, Omar Mateen was shot by the Orlando Police Department. He died on the scene.
I think that shootings like this one are happening too often right now. At this point in the year, there have already been 286 cases classified as mass shooting, though none have been quite as big as this one. I know that this has become a huge problem in our country. I just hope that we can find a way to stop this unnecessary violence. If we don't do something, we could see an increase in cases like this one throughout the country.
"Hands Up, Don't Shoot". This phrase alone has become synonymous with the issue of Gun Violence in our country. We've heard about this being chanted in streets, being demonstrated at national sporting events, and it is constantly being talked about in our country. But what does this statement even mean? What does it stand for?
The origin of the "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" movement began shortly after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The slogan was developed to protest against police violence, and it eventually spread nationwide. Officer Darren Wilson said that he shot Michael Brown when he became fearful of his safety while the two of them were walking on the sidewalk. Eyewitnesses have said that before he was shot, Brown raised both of his hands. Many protestors have shown support for Michael Brown by doing just what he allegedly did, raising their hands, hence the term "Hands Up, Don't Shoot".
"Hands Up, Don't Shoot" and other similar slogans, such as "I Can't Breathe", have been used often on the national scene. On November 30, 2014, five members of the NFL's St. Louis Rams walked onto the field in the Edward Jones Dome with their hands up, in protest of the death of Michael Brown. The players (Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey, Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, and Chris Givens) did this without the knowledge of their coach, who later stated that his players "were exercising their right to free speech". These five players were later criticized by members of the St. Louis Police Department, and some of the players even received death threats online. Another similar protest also included professional athletes in professional sports. During the 2014-2015 season, prominent athletes in the NBA wore shirts that read "I Can't Breathe", in reference to. Players such as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant wore the shirts. The players were never fined, though many felt that the players should have faced punishment.
I think that the issue that is being protested is very important in our society. However, I sometimes feel that protests done by members of Black Lives Matter or other groups fighting for important issues in our society go too far. For example, in December of 2015, the Mall of America was shut down for an entire day due to a Black Lives Matter protest, causing many people to lose a day of shopping right before Christmas. The group has also caused highways to shut down by blocking off entire roads. I feel like these incidents are pointless, and that they don't help out the issue that they are fighting at all. I think that when events like these happen, it causes people to only see negative aspects of the activist movement. If they could find ways to protest without disrupting innocent lives, I think that they would be viewed better by the general public.
Though many people believe that there is an issue with gun violence in our country, there are just as many that believe that guns are not the problem. Instead, they believe that the issue is the person operating the gun, not the gun itself. Some people fear that if these laws are changed, their legal rights will be violated. The real issue here is that we have people in this country that should not be eligible to attain these machines. This, right here, is a big reason as to why the amount of gun violence is so great in our country.
One thing that our country can do to minimize the issue of gun violence in our country is to have better background checks on all gun sales. Citizens buying guns could be checked to see if they have a history of criminal charges relating to guns. Their pasts would also most likely be examined to see if they have any felonies. Our government already prohibits people with certain mental illnesses from possessing guns, but we could soon see an increase in the amount of mental illnesses on that list. These bans usually differ state to state.
Another possible solution to gun violence could be "smart" guns. Smart guns are not on the market at this time, but they are a concept gun being thrown around by organizations such as the NRA, iGun Technology, and TriggerSmart. Smart guns are being developed to have a safety feature that would only allow the owner to fire it. This feature is hoped to prevent shootings, misfires, gun thefts, and other violence with guns. These proposed guns use many different ways to identify that they are being operated by their owner. These ways include fingerprint recognition and special chips. The idea of smart guns has been both criticized and praised by officials, as well as everyday citizens.
One last solution is an overall ban on guns in the United States. Though controversial, it certainly has a following. According to the website Debate.org, 39% of Americans would support a total ban on guns in the country. This idea is often protested by people in our country. While this would be a last resort for our government, it could certainly decrease the amount of deaths by guns throughout the country.
It is only a matter of time before we get see what our nation's leaders decide to do about gun violence. Until then, we will just have to wait.
For the past few years now, gun violence has been a major topic on our news platforms. You can't turn a television on or open up social media without seeing some sort of headline dealing with this issue. Thousands of people, all over the country, are affected by this issue each year. Gun violence has become one of our nation's biggest problems.
Perhaps the biggest issue dealing with gun violence in today's world is police officers accused of wrongfully gunning down minorities, specifically African Americans. In recent years, there have been many mainstream cases of this. Examples of these killings would include the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Freddie Gray in Baltimore, and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Each of these cases, as well as many others, have had strong support from U.S. citizens.
The death of Trayvon Martin is thought to have been one of the biggest cases of gun violence in recent U.S. history. Martin was killed by a man named George Zimmerman while walking down the street. Following the 17 year old's death, Black Lives Matter was essentially created. Black Lives Matter is an activist group that campaigns against violence against African Americans.
I believe that we as a nation can, and will fix this issue. I understand that we will continue to see cases like Trayvon Martin's or Michael Brown's for quite some time, but I do believe there there is light at the end of the tunnel. I think that first, people must understand the impact that this issue has on our country before we can to fix it.