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A Short Essay on America’s Gun Violence

A Short Essay on America’s Gun Violence


We ask the question, why does America experience these shootings and violence when other countries do not? What is the cause and what is the right answer?

America ranks at #12 in the world for Gun Violence only led by El Salvador, Venezuela, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Columbia, Brazil, Bahamas, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago. However, we are the only developed country that experiences this level of Gun Violence.

How The U.S. Compares With Other Countries In Deaths From Gun Violence

But can we boil the answer down to one solution?

Our problems with gun violence extend far beyond gun regulations and mental health (although both are needed). Adding more security everywhere we go creates more violence. We simply resort to becoming a police state in the Land of the Free and sadly, the good guy with the gun died on March 22nd, 2021 in Boulder Colorado.

Boulder shooting victims: Identifying the 10 lives lost

So what are the answers? It has been 22 years since the Columbine Shooting and we are still debating it.

That is because it is a cultural issue and there is not just one solution.

• Gun regulations are going to need to be part of it. It would be great if the 2A folks could step back from their emotions and review it from a more logical place. We are neither anti-gun or pro-gun at YS. Some of our staff own guns. None of us can find a logical reason, (not philosophical, but logical), for citizens to own automatic weapons (used in the broad sense for our 2A folks) or not be registered, or not have background checks. But gun regulations alone won’t fix the issue.

• Mental Health is part of it. There are NO beds for people who need help. There is NO mental health care that is easy to get for those without funding. But mental health care alone wont fix the issue.

• Equity and a Living Wage need to be a serious part of it. In America, our social outlook is to value humans on Net Worth. If you have no net-worth, you have no value. As a community, we come together and value supporting one another, but as a society, we view people through the lens of their checkbook. Wealth Disparity is going to need to be seriously looked at.

Suicide, addiction, depression, and mass shootings are up in America. Humans need to feel value and in a social construct that values human life on net-worth, this is a problem. 

• Better corporate regulations certainly need to be a part of it. It is their influence on legislation (and greed) that has set the stage for an inequitable society.

• Finally, we need to get really, really honest about our own Violence as a society. How we, as a nation, treat the homeless, the addicted, the depressed, those who have made mistakes, and our planet is brutal. Our judicial system is Violent, our police are often violent, our treatment of those without homes is violent. Our treatment of POC is violent. Our treatment of our planet is violent. From top-down America is violent.

To make these changes, it means those who are absolute in their views on guns – whether that is for or against – need to be able to talk.

Corporations need to be out of influencing public policy. We need to value human life beyond what is in the bank account and there needs to be normalcy to mental health care.

We need to ask ourselves what are the values of American life and does our society reflect that?

Today, it is quite apparent those values are agitating violence, not decreasing it.

So America, are we ready to talk about a variety of answers, or will we spend another 22 years debating how to solve America’s gun violence problem?

It requires ALL of us to come to the table and be willing to examine our beliefs and values.   

‘The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.’

—Fyodor Dostoevsky

Speaking at the Boulder Vigil 


Shavonne Blades grew up on the West Coast but moved to Colorado in High School. She left for California after school and returned to Colorado in 1990. She got her start in media at the age of 21 in Santa Cruz, California as an advertising sales rep. Having no experience and nothing more than a couple of years as an art college attendee she felt the bug to work in media at a young age. She learned that by helping her customers with design and marketing, their campaigns would be far more successful and has made a 30+ year career in design, copywriting, and marketing for her clients. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPy4MMdcfLg.She has always chosen to work in Independent Media and believes deeply in the need for true, authentic Community Journalism. She is proud that YS has never compromised journalism standards in its 20+ history and continues to print YS on paper monthly while also expanding web coverage. She has worked at 3 Alternative Weeklies and founded Yellow Scene Magazine in 2000. You can learn more about Shavonne's adventures in the YS 20th Anniversary issue: https://yellowscene.com/2020/10/08/the-yellow-scenes-red-tornado/

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