As someone who lives within walking distance of the District of Columbia, I was shocked to hear that yet another mass shooting has occurred not far from my hometown. Part of me was overwhelmed with grief for those who have lost their loved ones, but surprisingly, part of me wasn't surprised at all. In the past year, these types of incidents have become all too common. How is it that one of the most powerful countries in the world is faced with relentless gunmen who terrorize innocent citizens?
The first major shooting that I heard about was the Virginia Tech Massacre of 2007. At that time, such an event was simply unheard of, and people were forced to challenge their own beliefs about what kind of country this is and what our liberties truly mean -- not only for the individual, but for the population as a whole.
It's been about six years since the tragedy at Tech, and the reality is much scarier than anyone could imagine. Not only are there still such saddening crimes, but they have become more common. When I reported on the Colorado shooting, I thought that perhaps certain measures would be enforced to ensure the safety of the public, but apparently this is not the case.
While I believe that certain legislation should be passed to prevent such crimes, it is important to consider the current political standing and the fact that, quite frankly, passing anything through congress takes a lot of time and effort. Gun control is such a hotly debated issue, but it's hard to say whether or not the extremities argued by both sides would work.
The second amendment of the U.S. Constitution includes the right to bear arms. This building block that is part of the foundation of modern American government is too large to simply be removed. Instead of placing vast limitations on gun rights -- which could backfire and lead to a large underground market -- I believe that the federal government should provide categorical grants -- or specific subsidies -- to states for the purpose of increasing security measures and placing more emphasis on background checks. With such a subsidy, states could introduce programs to check up on those who bear arms per their constitutional rights, and the mental well-being of people with guns could be more closely monitored.
Every day we have is a true gift, and as these tragedies have shown, it is important to enjoy each one. Before you go to bed at night, think of how lucky you are to not be one of the many people --- in Colorado, in Blacksburg, in D.C. -- whose lives have been cut short. Although many have been taken by massacres recently, this is a wake up call; and maybe this time we can get it right.