A lot of what I'm going to write here is personal opinion. I realise there are many stances and opinions about gun laws and gun control, and I completely respect everyone's views. Yet, I felt I had to write about my opinion on it because I am starting to feel more and more strongly about it.
It surprises me that the world is not more stunned than it is by the horrific shooting in Oregon that took place on Thursday 1st October. All shootings are horrific, of course. Why America has been so lax with gun laws for so long is beyond me...the whole issue of the "right to bear arms" is, in my opinion, completely outdated and unnecessary. How can it make sense to allow people to walk around carrying guns, knowing what we do about human nature? This shooting is the 45th shooting in America in this year alone! I can understand Obama's frustration completely, especially as he is powerless to do much about it...despite being the President. And yet he, and many others in America, are desperate to change things and to stop gun shootings being the "norm".
Anyway...what I find particularly dark about this shooting is that the gunman picked out those were Christians and cold-bloodedly murdered them for believing in Jesus. He asked anyone who was a Christian to stand up. Can you imagine the courage it must have taken for those individuals to rise to their feet to acknowledge their faith...guessing what the possible consequences were? Can you even begin to imagine it? Because, you know what...I can't. I can't even sleep for thinking about it.
I guess there are always going to be people who hate one group or another and set out on a mission to persecute that particular group as much as possible. But saying that these things: "will always happen" doesn't help. In fact, what kind of comfort is that to anyone...least of all to those poor, heartbroken, bereaved families and friends of the deceased. When something like this happens, the last thing we need to do is to turn a blind eye. The last thing we need to do is throw our hands up helplessly in the air because "America has always been that way with guns and it always will". No! We need to act. We need to petition, protect, pressurise.
It surprises me what hypocrites we in the UK can be. We happily use our elevated global status to pressurise other countries into doing our bidding. We happily sanction certain countries...but we will never criticise America. Why are we so scared to stand up against what is wrong? We should prefer to lose our "special relationship" than live cowards in our own esteem and abandon basic moral standards. Sure, America may not listen to us; but it's not always about being listened to. It's about using our voice to speak up for what is right, no matter the cost. That's what those students did. They stood up - literally - for what they believed to be right, and they paid the ultimate cost for doing so. Some of them may have stood up with shaking knees. Some of them may have stood up quickly...some of them slowly. But they all stood up. They all stood up. And we have a moral duty to be their voice now.