'So Many Ways to Prevent This'
“What the hell is going on in America?”
This is a question that, as an American, I have grown accustomed to hearing whilst abroad and have grown to repeatedly ask myself. In just two short years of Trump’s presidency, I have seen my country grow into a roaring dumpster fire of messy politics and fake news headlines. So, when my professor asked me this question during a casual conversation about gun laws in the Netherlands, I struggled to construct a tactful answer. Because, seriously — what the hell is going on?
During my time abroad, it has become abundantly clear that my country’s inability to impose gun control is a uniquely American issue. Serving as a stark contrast to America’s infamous gun violence, my professor posited that Amsterdam has but only an average of two shootings a year. Your average American metropolitan city? Easily reaching numbers in the hundreds. America seems to have become a sociopolitical ouroboros; settling into a constant cycle of eating its own tail and repeating our jaded history of self-perpetuated gun violence.
Many supporters of the second amendment don’t value the weapon itself as much as they value a right to an unencumbered, ultimate freedom
A large part of America’s identity is predicated upon the second amendment’s de jure freedom that is not necessarily dictated as an inherent value amongst other countries across the globe. While the amendment is simply defined by one’s right to keep and bear arms in the context of self-defense, the law’s implications are deeply complex and powerful enough to ideologically splinter my entire nation. While it may seem that the majority of Americans support regulations of gun possession for the sake of protecting our citizens from further harm, this liberal perspective greatly conflates a complicated issue that is deeply rooted in America’s constitutional foundations. America is historically considered to be the “land of the free”, and consequently many supporters of the second amendment don’t value the weapon itself as much as they value a right to an unencumbered, ultimate freedom. Yet, the number of mass shootings continue to climb year by year, and news sources continue to feign genuine surprise and disgust towards the devastating consequences gun possession inflicts unto our American people. But, satirical news sources publish headlines that shine a proverbial light on the greater issue at hand: why is America the only country that seems to have this problem? Why haven’t we followed the Netherlands as an example? And why can’t I answer this simply?