The to the Centers for Disease Control in
The results of the United State’s lack of regulation are evident through many events in our country. From horrifying mass shootings to suicide, guns only encourage violent behavior. According to the Centers for Disease Control in 2014, approximately 33,000 people die each year because of gun-related homicides, suicides, and accidents in the United States. As previously stated, advocates for gun rights argue that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. However, this idea has been proven not entirely true. In December of 2012, a Chinese man walked into an elementary school and attacked 22 children with a knife. While the act was extremely tragic, the use of a gun would have worsened the already violent situation. If a gun had been involved, more children in the school could have been severely injured. Although no children died in this case, a gun could have made the attacks fatal. Effective gun control laws in China prevented this man from obtaining a more dangerous weapon. However, the U.S. has not adopted the same policies. It is unsurprising to note, therefore, that the U.S is known to be one of the most lax countries in the world when it comes to gun control. It is important to understand that the goal of these policies is not to take away certain rights, but to simply reduce violence. The three most popular gun control policies are universal background checks, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and a ban on certain assault weapons.A background check includes looking up criminal, commercial, and financial records of a person. Gun control advocates argue on behalf of safety, stating that some people diagnosed with mental illnesses should not have access to firearms. Another case in which background checks are beneficial is a person’s substance abuse record. Among gun control supporters, a ban on high-capacity magazines is popular. This can reduce the number of shots available in case of a mass shooting, consequently reducing possible deaths. For instance, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance that would forbid city residents from possessing handgun or rifle magazines that exceed 10 rounds of ammunition. This legislation illustrates the logic that most gun control advocates follow; more than 10 rounds of ammunition is unnecessary for self-defense, and should be outlawed. (Kopel, “The Costs and Consequences of Gun Control.”)The last gun control policy is a ban on assault weapons, which restricts the ability to use certain firearms deemed a threat to public safety. Bernie Sanders, an advocate for the ban of assault weapons, argues, “No one needs an AK-47 to hunt.” Essentially, an assault rifle is not needed for recreational sports or hunting; therefore, the use of this rifle is unnecessary for our day-to-day lives. The epidemic nature of gun-related crimes makes complete prevention impossible, but that does not mean we should stop trying to reduce the amount of gun violence in the United States. The second issue that I care deeply about relates to institutionalized racism. Our colorblind thinking has led us to believe we live in a perfect society, where racism no longer exists. While we’ve rid our country of “separate but equal” agendas, racism is still built into the systems we encounter everyday – schools, government, law enforcement, and jails. Structural racism is built into our everyday lives. This type of racism naturally benefits white people, and more specifically, white males. Since the founding of our country, white males have reaped the benefits of their power; white males have had better schools, better jobs, and more influence in our government. Before the Civil Rights Movement, people of color were viewed as second-class citizens. As the years of progress went on, however, a growing backlash emerged from the white conservative population. Ronald Takaki states that “the campaign against multiculturalism and ethnic studies reflects a deeper white anxiety over the changing composition of American society and a perceived loss of prestige, influence and power” (284). Because of this growing resentment to equal access to civil rights, there has been a shift back to more segregated communities. What most people do not realize, however, is that this type of racism is present in our lives today. First, the American school system is directly impacted by racial disparity. Compared to suburban schools, which typically enroll majority white students, inner-city schools have much lower standards. For example, the amount of AP courses given to students at inner-city schools is significantly lower than the amount offered at suburban schools. This problem alone may not seem racist, but it actually reveals a much larger and deep-rooted problem. The availability of AP classes offers more opportunities for progress to higher education, but inner-city school kids have been ignored, mostly because states have not allowed adequate funding for public schools in economically disadvantaged areas. Another way institutionalized racism manifests itself is through incarceration rates. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, the African American population in California is only 6%, but African Americans make up more than 30% of the prison population. The so called “war on drugs” is where this racial disparity exponentially increased. “This war has been waged almost exclusively in poor communities of color, even though studies consistently show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates,” states Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow. By imprisoning minorities at a greater rate, politicians appeal to the majority of white voters.