At 11.35am on Wednesday the 22nd June, Democrats in the House of Representatives began a sit in that has lasted over a day. Their issue? Gun control in America. The United States have lost so many people to gun crime in the space of this week alone, and the very act of this protest in the face of an age old constitution seeks to undermine history itself.
The Democrats are using the hashtag #NoBillNoBreak as the headline of this sit-in, demonstrating that until something is done regarding stricter gun laws in the United States, they will remain exactly where they are sat. This is a momentous occasion with regards to American Constitutionalism and will no doubt open up for discussion many significant issues and arguments regarding how guns should be bought and used.
There have been many speakers, and many arguments made about gun violence for the duration of this ongoing sit-in, but as I watch - streaming live from my laptop in the U.K - there is one that is particularly poignant. Representative James Clyburn presents images of those massacred at the Charleston church, by a man who believed he 'had to do this'; and explains gun violence in very simple, very haunting terms. He argued that these victims were 'exactly where they should've been' at this time, worshipping in a place that should have been their sanctuary; but instead was the place they lost their lives.
Clyburn points out each of the victims in a desperate plea for people to recognise the real problem at hand, while explaining that 'for people to tell us we should focus on terrorists, when there's so much hate being carried out at the point of a gun, is to avoid the real issue'. He explains that the Charleston killer was not ISIS, he was motivated by hate; and in doing so demonstrates that hate is the connecting factor in every crime committed out of the barrel of a gun.
There will be more speakers during this, no doubt. There will be many arguments concerning gun violence, and they will all be worth hearing. But Clyburn's case can be seen as one of the most important, because what it does is summarise the most prevalent issue in any case of violence, in anywhere in the world. It is not religion, race, nor even terrorism that leads people to purchase guns and senselessly fire them at innocent people; it is hate. And as long as this is the issue, there should be a longer and harder look taken at the impact of gun crime; and a law passed against it. That is what the Democrats are spending so many hours working for, and that is a cause that ought to unite us all.
As the Democrats continue their fight for progress in the face of so many tragedies, the rest of the world looks on in hope that the United States may finally move forward in their fight against gun violence. I would urge everyone to follow this closely and get on board with the #NoBillNoBreak trend on Twitter, for it is only in numbers that progress is made.
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