While exploring the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a painting titled, Ptarmigans in a Landscape, caught my attention. Painted by Sir Edwin Landseer in the 1800s, the artwork displays two Scottish birds that have been shot by a hunter; the male succumbing to his wounds while the injured female continues to watch over their nest. Labeled as the “tragic impact of violence on love and the strength of familial commitment,” I immediately thought of the heartbreaking mass shootings over the past 10 days in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. Specifically, the injured mother bird watching over her nest reminded me of all the brave men and women who shielded their spouses and children, and strangers who carried children from harm’s way during the chaos. These heroes, along with the victims listed below, must never be forgotten.
Trevor Irby, 25; Keyla Salazar,13; Stephen Romero, 6
Andre Pablo Anchondo, 23; Jordan Anchondo, 24; Arturo Benavides, 60; Leonard Cipeda Campos, 41; Maria Flores, 77; Raul Flores, 77; Jorge Calvillo Garcia, 61; Adolfo Cerros Hernandez, 68; Alexander Gerhard Hoffman, 66; David Alvah Johnson, 63; Luis Alfonzo Juarez, 90; Maria Eugenia Legarrega Rothe, 58; Elsa Mendoza Marquez, 57; Maribel Loya, 56; Ivan Hilierto Manzano, 46; Margie Reckard, 63; Sarah Esther Regaldo Moriel, 66; Javier Rodriguez, 15; Teresa Sanchez, 82; Angelina Englisbee, 86; Juan Velazquez, 77; and Gloria Irma Marquez, 61
Megan Betts, 22; Derrick Fudge, 57; Lois Oglesby, 27; Logan Turner, 30; Nicholas Cumer, 25; Thomas McNichols, 25; Beatrice Warren-Curtis, 36; Saeed Saleh, 38; Monica Brickhouse, 39
Living in Philadelphia my entire life, I am no stranger to gun violence. Actually, I am quite familiar. I lost a good friend of mine, Nicholas Flacco, this past spring when he was gunned down after a baseball game. These recent shootings, along with my personal experience, have left me and the entire United States asking questions, two of which I will examine below.
Can increased security prevent mass shootings as Republicans suggest?
Republicans and conservatives, like myself, usually call for more security after mass shootings such as Parkland. These efforts are in good faith. Increased security in large public areas like schools, malls, and movie theaters could help thwart attacks or at least put an end to them quicker. Ideally, they would never occur in the first place, but, when they do, it is essential to stop them quickly. The Parkland shooter was uninterrupted for 7 minutes; the Sandy Hook shooter, for about 10 minutes.
Time matters when lives are on the line and it was not wasted in two of these recent shootings: the officers engaged the Gilroy shooter in less than a minute but three people were still killed and 13 injured, while officers killed the Dayton shooter in less than a minute but nine were still killed, as well as 27 injured. The Gilroy Garlic Festival was also outfitted with tall fences, metal detectors, and roaming patrols. Security is important and can/should always be upgraded with new technology such as artificial intelligence and drones. Given the carnage that can occur in such a short time, security cannot be considered as the only solution to these tragedies.
Can evil acts, such as these shootings, be legislated away?
These recent shooters, as well as other domestic terrorists and mass shooters, put immense effort into their attacks. Aware of the metal detectors and security, the Gilroy shooter cut through a security fence to commence his attack while the El Paso shooter drove over 600 miles to his target. The Dayton shooter was covered in body armor and armed with multiple high capacity magazines. The amount of preparation these shooters and domestic terrorists undertake is sickening, and a testament to their deranged ideologies.
Legislation will not stop all mass shootings nor put an end to evil, but there are steps we can take to combat these evils that are permeating our everyday lives. While you can read about how ineffective most gun control initiatives are in mine and other Lone Conservative authors’ articles, there are other practical solutions such as better enforcement of laws already on the books, red flag laws, and increased online monitoring that can help prevent perilous people from conveniently obtaining weapons capable of large scale damage.
Ultimately, it will be a combination of legislation and addressing prominent issues in our society but we cannot view legislation as the driving factor. As Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez accurately stated in a speech on August 5th, “Fixing this is about fixing the laws, but it’s about addressing our culture. We’re gonna have to go deep.”
Eternal rest grant unto the victims listed above, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they Rest In Peace.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.