Lay Down Your Arms

There is more to gun violence than just the guns


Julie Freijat, co-editor in chief

Gun control is quite possibly one of the most polarizing issues facing the United States today. It has divided states, cities and the families living within them. I find it difficult to write a piece where I can express my thoughts on an issue that I go back and forth on so often.

First, I do believe that our constitutional rights should be protected and respected and I think it is important to recognize that the right to bear arms is one of those — no matter how unnecessary you might believe it to be.

Second, I know the constitution was crafted years ago, but I do believe that some of the principles outlined within it are timeless.

So where do I stand?

I don’t believe guns are the disease plaguing our nation. I believe gun violence is a symptom of the illness that has killed so many — but guns give only the opportunity. It takes a brain to jump at the chance.

I remember waking up early one morning to see the headline that spelled out terror and violence and was bound to create new rifts among the people in this country. Around 50 people had been shot and killed while attending an outdoor music festival in Las Vegas. I found that my reaction to this atrocity was no longer all redness and rage. I felt scared and disappointed. I had never feared to leave my home before that — but this shooting had finally struck something inside me.

For a while, I hated guns. I hated the idea of owning them. Hated that they existed. I knew no one who had died in this shooting yet I felt deeply for it. Videos surfaced on the internet of the attack and I felt even more disappointed. I could only ask why it continued to happen — even though I knew internally that there wasn’t ever going to be a definitive answer.

It took me weeks to process and organize my thoughts. I was never anti-gun before this shooting. And to this day, I find myself still believing that the citizens of this country do have the right to bear arms.

I believe at the center of nearly every mass atrocity there is more than just anger and rage and revenge. I believe there is brokenness in the people who chose to take the lives of others’. This was a choice that they made — it was something they consciously did and did deliberately, many without hesitation. And behind every choice we make is a motive. And beneath that — there is a reason we feel the way we feel.

I am not blaming all society for this violence. Instead, I’d like to suggest that we treat the root of the disease instead of simply assessing the symptoms. There is something horribly wrong with the world — and it is not simply the desire to own guns. It isn’t just the desire to do drugs or rob a bank.

It is the sadness and the brokenness that drives these desires.

Treat that, and you’ll watch everything else fall into place.