The right to buy a gun doesn’t make America the land of the free

University of Michigan students react to the mass shooting in Las Vegas

In the words of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, “Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man.”

Ironically, on the day that the Indian community celebrates Gandhi Jayanthi —an Indian festival for Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi's birthday— I have to disagree with the Mahatma (Great Soul).

The greatest force at the disposal of mankind is not nonviolence, bur rather our ability to empathize. Our defining characteristics as human beings are our multifaceted emotions: how we internalize and project them, and how we relate to those of other people as well.

As University of Michigan sophomore Reeya Desai points out, today is the 275th day of 2017, and we have had 273 mass shootings so far. One of the deadliest to be recorded in American history occurred this year on October 1st in Las Vegas, perpetrated by Stephen Paddock, a now dead 64-year-old Caucasian male.

It is safe to assume that with the current laws in place about gun regulations, the American government is grossly failing to empathize with the families of the millions of individuals who die yearly due to careless, unprecedented gun violence. By considering armed forces over inherent empathy as the greatest force entitled to human beings, the American government is stifling any sort of progress towards attaining true liberty and justice for all.

What happened in Las Vegas is truly and utterly devastating. A gunman on a high floor of a Las Vegas hotel rained a rapid fire barrage on an outdoor concert festival on October 1st, killing at least 58 people, injuring hundreds of others, and sending thousands of terrified survivors fleeing for safety.

Who is Mr. Paddock? While ISIS claims he is one of the terror group’s soldiers, there is no conclusive evidence that he is tied to any organization as he has no previous criminal history. He is, however, described by family members as “not a normal guy” who was affected by his father’s status as one of the FBI’s most wanted criminals.

These sorts of red flags should be wake up calls for the government when discussing gun control regulations.“I really don’t understand how [the government] says gun control isn’t necessary," UMich senior Kaval Shah told The Tab. "It doesn’t matter if it’s one person or 50 people, a human’s life is priceless and should be worth every effort to protect it.”

The problem lies in the intense nationalism this country was founded upon. Our sense of pride as “the land of the free and the home of the brave” clouds our judgement and priorities, and forces us to implement regulations that show other countries our perception of what freedom should look like.

The problem is, this is not what freedom is. Freedom not only constitutes liberty from oppression, like what the United States of America was founded on, but also liberty from fear, which this country is failing to recognize. Every man, woman and child should be able to live each day of their lives without even considering the fact that it could possibly be their last because our government lets anyone who wants a gun have a gun.

“Policy makers don’t actually believe in what they do and create policies based on what will get them reelected," said Puja Patel, a UMich sophomore. "This means catering to the whims of the National Rifle Association, which is in fact the biggest contributor to the campaign funds.”

Columbine High School, Sandy Hook, Orlando Pulse Nightclub, Las Vegas…. the list is endless, but it can end. How? When the government realizes what should be prioritized when creating and enforcing policies and empathizes with the millions of broken families that can never be repaired.

University of Michigan