As people around the world switched on their television sets on Monday, a sickening news report sent them into a state of shock and panic. 49 people were shot and killed and 53 were wounded in what is considered to be the deadliest mass shooting in the history of the United States of America.
This incident has created a global stir because it is getting ridiculously easier by the day for regular people to become victims in the US at the hands of anyone with a gun. All it requires is for someone to be in a bad mood and for you to cross their path. And that's exactly what happened this past Sunday.
Why are we talking about it?
Because many of us have friends and family living in the US. Because many of us dream of going to the US. Because many of us have been to dance bars, night clubs and other social gatherings in the US. And, many of us could have easily been in the vicinity of a someone with an unsound mind and a very sound gun in the US.
Everyday, we wake up in a world we don't agree with, we exist around people we don't get along with. One of the reasons why we're still alive is because there's an extremely rare chance that someone we had an altercation with possesses a gun. And, thank god for that!
If you look at it from an American perspective, in 2016, one can say that living in India is much, much safer.
A world leader crippled by its Constitution
The United States of America is a world leader in many ways. A bunch of countries definitely look up to the US to draw out developmental reforms in various fields. So much so, that some of us dream of going to The US for one reason or another. A lot of us even want to settle there.
Keeping all that in mind, the question we should be asking is ,"Why have mass shootings not been curtailed in the US?". The answer to this very pertinent question is the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution which guarantees its citizens the right to bear arms.
American gun laws and the ease of killing
One man with an agenda, entered a night club and opened fire at hundreds of people partying there. As absurd and computer gamey as it sounds, this was far from a rare occurrence.
Just this past week, singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed after one of her performances. She was signing autographs, when the gunman appeared and fired at her.
A week before that, a student at UCLA shot his professor and himself, killing both in the act.
According to a report by CNN, a total of 136 mass shootings have taken place in The US in 2016 alone.
Why so many mass shootings?
Because buying a gun in the US is just as easy as buying groceries. Except that a bag of groceries is still visible to the public when you walk down the street. Because firearms are more readily available in the US than a sound mind is.
This is no longer just a debate on CNN or Fox News. This concerns the lives of anyone living in or travelling to the US. For god's sake, even elementary school children have been subjected to mass shootings in the past decade.
With all this madness going around, we're inclined to say that the US may not be the land of the brave or the home of the free anymore.
This has left a pressing question about the safety of the citizens of the United States and people from around the world visiting the country.
The death toll changes, the location changes... but, the weapon remains the same. This weapon that you can acquire at any gun store with a photo-id proof, empowers an unsound mind to take matters into his or her own hands and "execute" anyone with or without a reason.
And that's where The US desperately needs to learn from countries like India.
India, with all its crime statistics, ranks extremely low in terms of gun related homicides and mass shootings. Strict gun laws make gun-ownership extremely difficult in India. Indians have an estimated 4.2 guns per 100 people as compared to The US where gun ownership is 88.8 per 100 people.
About 89% of the gun-based murders committed in India between 2010 to 2014 were committed by illegal arms.
How a gun is legally obtained in India Vs. How a gun is legally obtained in the US:
8 States in the United States of America don't even require their citizens to possess a permit to purchase a firearm. That's insane!
A firearm is used in about 10% of total homicidal cases in India. In The United States, this percentage goes up to 60%.
If The United States of America wants people from around the world to continue to come to their country and contribute to their growth, it's high time they do something about their gun laws and ensure the safety of anyone visiting or staying in the country.
Because, if the bodies continue to pile up, the United States may no longer remain the most powerful country in the world. And that is the cold, harsh truth.