Thoughts and Prayers – America’s Never-Ending Mass Shooting Cycle

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Thoughts and Prayers – America’s Never-Ending Mass Shooting Cycle

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We thought it was over after Sandy Hook. We thought it was over after Orlando. We thought it was over after Las Vegas. America’s cycle of mass shootings never ends. Every month there is another shooting, another set of fatalities, another set of faces, another set of names, another funeral, another protest.

More children have died in school shootings so far in the first 18 years of 21st century than the entire 20th century, now totaling over 250. The latest tragedy in Parkland, Fla. marks the eighth fatal school shooting in 2018 alone. Even with these many fatalities, no major gun control legislation has passed through Congress since before the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012.

The force that is preventing the passage of new legislation is the Republican Party and its controller, the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA has kept a stranglehold on the Republicans since the 1990s, through a pattern of strict rules and large checks. In the 2016 election cycle alone, the NRA spent over $54 million on Republican candidates and their campaigns, while only spending a reported $265 supporting Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.org, a non-partisan watchdog group.

Even our own congressmen take large sums of money from the NRA. Rep. Steve Chabot, who represents a majority of the west side of Cincinnati and its northern suburbs, has taken over $100,000 from the NRA during his career. Rob Portman, one of Ohio’s senators, has also taken over three million dollars in direct and indirect support from the organization.

While this may seem like a lot of money, it’s important to note that this is what the NRA has to pay to buy your representation. Every politician that takes money from the NRA isn’t listening to the people that voted for them, they’re listening to the people that put money in their campaign’s accounts. It is important to not only stand against the NRA’s self-serving stances on gun control, but also to stand against their degradation of American democracy.

The NRA advocates for the most lax gun control laws possible, and uses its money as a threat or a reward for lawmakers to follow their agenda. It is that agenda that let the National Assault Weapons Ban expire in 2004, which banned the same weapons that were used in nearly every school shooting since it expired. It is the same agenda that refused to ban the “bump stock,” which allowed a semi-automatic rifle to shoot at a fully-automatic rate and kill 58 people in Las Vegas. The NRA and every politician that takes their money, puts that money ahead of their own constituents lives.

It is the duty of every American to contact their representatives in Congress. Make your voice heard so it can not be overpowered by a check from the NRA. A new ABC/Washington Post poll shows that 90 percent of Americans want increased background check laws. It is time that Congress gets something done to protect the people that elect them and their children.

The NRA has decided to go on the offensive against those pushing for stricter gun laws, ramping up efforts since the Parkland shooting in February. Wayne LaPierre, the CEO and Executive Vice President of the NRA, attacked those favoring stricter gun laws, saying “they hide behind labels like Democrat, left-wing, and progressive, to make their socialist agenda more palatable, and that is terrifying.” LaPierre is accusing those who support stricter gun control of being communists, who are just using gun control to secretly push socialist ideals. This is completely ridiculous and unjust, and we as Americans must stand up against people who claim such absurdities against those who seek to make America a safer place, and use these fear tactics against us.

Dana Loesch, the NRA’s national spokeswoman, instead of directly attacking those who seek less strict gun laws, attacked the media, another common target of many conservatives and their interest groups. During her speech on Feb. 22, Loesch stated “Many in legacy media love mass shootings.” Anyone in their right mind hates mass shootings. Such an attack on journalists is completely ridiculous and childlike, and it shows the NRA’s true intentions.

The NRA does not stand for “preserving the core of our American values and traditions” like their mission statement says. Their intentions are to divide America. Pit Republicans against Democrats and profit off of it. Create fear in the hearts and minds of Americans that drives them to buy weapons. They do not want to help Americans, they only want to help themselves.

Since the Parkland shooting, many businesses, from car rentals to airlines to banks, have stood up to the power of the NRA by parting ways with them. The NRA has lost over a dozen partnerships and with them many millions of dollars. The only way to defeat the NRA is financially. We must stand up to the NRA just like these businesses have, and separate ourselves from the power they hold on Washington and our government.

Recently, conspiracy theorists have accused students who have been covered in media as ‘crisis actors’ These students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High have recently stood up against the NRA and other critics who have been making such claims. David Hogg, a student from Parkland High School, stood up against the NRA and other critics on national television when he said “You might as well stop now because we are going to outlive you.”