FUCK GUN VIOLENCE
Since I was born in CO in 1996, there have been over 7 mass shootings in my home state. I was at the Batman movie when the Aurora Movie Theater shooting happened, luckily I had decided to go to Southlands Mall instead. My dad and I have watched movies at the Aurora Movie Theater dozens of times, and that night I decided differently. In my senior year of HS, we had a lockdown because an active shooter was at Arapahoe High School down the street. At the time, being in my teens, I did not really care nor did I feel impacted for some reason. Youthful feelings of invulnerability were likely the culprit, but who knows…
The most recent shooting at the King Soopers in Boulder changed that. I lived near the KS in my undergrad years and it is almost throwing distance from my old boss’ house. Another shooting so close to areas I’ve considered home. And that youthful invulnerability has quickly dulled. Being 6’5”, Black, and queer, I’ve developed anxiety in public spaces after these shootings. I feel like a walking target. For weeks after the Boulder shooting, I could not grocery shop for more than 15 minutes at a time. While the fear has eased a bit now, I still feel unsafe in crowds, dealing with angry drivers, encountering arguments, or even being in public. All because of gun violence and the threat of death. This ever-present fear is one of the leading drives of me leaving the US in 2018 and wanting to leave after I graduate in 2022.
Though I plan to leave the US at some point, I hope to use my Public Policy degree from Berkeley to #ENDGUNVIOLENCE in the states. Making it harder for people to obtain guns and reducing their prevalence in general, which is critical for a less violent, trauma-filled future. A future where one can go out to a queer event or get Brussel sprouts without being a murder victim. We ought to be able to argue and fight with one another, without it coming to death blows in a matter of seconds. Not every citizen needs the capabilities of instant murder at their fingertips when they are upset. Our government OUGHT to put the level of resourcing and emotion they do into gun rights and direct it to our healthcare, housing, and education systems.
Less guns more kindness. Less guns more empathy. Less guns more peace. Am I right?