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“Land of the imprisoned, home of the traumatized” should be America’s new motto because as much as it was a stretch before, we can absolutely no longer call ourselves “Land of the free”.  

Upon hearing the news of a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, it really dawned on me that there are no safe havens in this country–not for anyone. Like damn, how  many more mass shootings have to occur before our government acts?

This tragedy comes just 10 days after a mass shooting and hate crime took the lives of 10 Black people in Buffalo, New York and another mass shooting at a church in Laguna Woods, California that claimed the life of a parishioner. 

Eighteen year old Salvador Ramos took the lives of 19 innocent children and two teachers while they were in school after reportedly killing his grandmother. 

Opinion: Our children deserve to grow up. Our leaders won't let them. texas school shooting
Nation traumatized after 19 Children and several adults were gunned down at a Texas elementary school on Tuesday, May 24, 2022.

At this point, it’s unsafe to go to grocery stores, churches, ride public transportation and in the cases of multiple mass shootings following  Sandy Hook, Marjory Stoneman Douglass and the 119 other school shootings that have taken place since 2019, it’s unsafe to go to school.

We are not free in this country.

 The country remains traumatized by endless mass shootings

Active shooter incidents have increased by 51% between 2020 and 2021. Gun violence has surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the number one cause of death for children in the United States. And it seems that we’ve become so desensitized to this homegrown terrorism that all we do is send prayers, create hashtags and memorialize the victims on social media then repeat when the next mass shooting happens. This isn’t living–this is trauma.

To my question of “How many more mass shootings have to occur before our government acts?”. Well, I’ll tell you. The next one that impacts the family or political power of a Republican lawmaker may be the last. It may change the tune of gun reform/public health on Capitol Hill and in statehouses. Because let’s be honest, the conversation about the domestic threat of white supremacists didn’t become real until lawmakers’ lives were in danger during the January 6th Insurrection. 

Republicans are so quick to condemn the orchestrators of these crimes but in their next breath, defend people’s right to bear arms. 

Republicans defend inaction on gun reform

In response to Tuesday’s shooting, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz said, “Inevitably when there’s a murder of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it, you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens. That doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.” 

First let me say that Ted Cruz is an abomination. Secondly,  their overprotection of “people’s right” to carry guns is infringing upon people’s right to live in and enjoy safe and peaceful communities and public spaces. Whose rights matter more?

Then, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, “I’d much rather have law-abiding citizens armed and trained so that they can respond when something like this happens because it’s not going to be the last time.” 

What in the entire hell? First, you acknowledge that this is an ongoing crisis but your remedy is more guns? And, it’s bad enough that most schools already look like prisons and some communities are war-zones. Now us average citizens are supposed to play vigilante security guards and risk our lives fighting these monsters? 

Beto O'Rourke interrupts Gov. Greg Abbott's press conference in Uvalde
O’Rourke was escorted out of the press conference after a heated argument between himself and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick as the nation remains traumatized after yet another mass shooting. (ABC News)

Prevention over reaction

Moreover, this suggestion will further traumatize kids and adults with the presence of guns on a daily basis–reminding them of the weapon that took the life of their friend, their teacher, their neighbor, or their child.

But, we shouldn’t be surprised because they’re not the ones personally affected by these tragedies. On the contrary, they benefit from them because gun lobbyists and second amendment enthusiasts keep them in power. 

Is it too much to ask that we strengthen and have stricter enforcement of red flag gun laws? Because over the last decade, every mass shooter was flagged by one of the laws but yet, were able to slip through the cracks and still commit these heinous crimes.

And, put age restrictions on gun purchases. As Sunny Hostin said on The View, “If you can’t legally drink alcohol until the age of 21, you shouldn’t be able to purchase a gun until then, too.” Maybe that age restriction would have prevented the Buffalo massacre.

So, we are not free. We are living in evil and horrific times when enjoying the simplest pleasures or carrying on with daily activities now pose a threat to our lives. People are unwell and unsafe, communities are in chaos and no one is exempt from the trauma or the violence. Until lawmakers know and feel this pain for themselves, this will continue to be our reality. Make them act through demanding policy or stripping them of their power.

Tanesha Peeples is driven by one question in her work--"If not me then who?" As a strategist and injustice interrupter, Tanesha merges the worlds of communications and grassroots activism to push for radical...

One reply on “The U.S. has become “Land of the Imprisoned, Home of the Traumatized””

  1. Useless niggers trying to be victims. The only victims are the good hard working Americans who have to live with these piece of shit animals.

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