So far, 2016 has been rather interesting. Perhaps eventful would be a better word to describe it, but nonetheless very interesting.
What’s so interesting about this year is how we’ve managed to take a U-turn from progressive values and find ourselves barreling back to the values our grand parents had seen fading out.
Hundreds of lives have been lost from us, lost due to differences in the colour of their skins, the differences in their preferences and difference in beliefs. Issues that had been resolved 70 years ago are emerging now in our present day.
This was foreshadowed by the release of the sequel to Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, set in the early 1930s. In the sequel, Go Set A Watchman, we see beloved character Atticus Finch, the character least infected by prejudice in the novel and the voice of reasoning and morals, adopt incredibly abhorrent views on race.
Ironically, it is seen that, in the sequel, which is set 20 years later, any hint of progress in the desertion of racism and segregation has been reduced to nothing, as even the moral compass of Maycomb begins pointing to the wrong direction.
While the widely anticipated book received widespread criticism and sparked outrage at the loss of the moral integrity of a beloved childhood hero, in hindsight it is evident that the book was a foretelling of the events to come as we slowly realise it is more of a narration of our current events rather than just plain fiction.
Evidence of this is clearly seen in recent occurrences such as the Orlando Shootings and the Charleston Church shooting. In both cases, the factors leading to the devastating fatalities were race or sexual orientation.
What happened in Charleston or the Boston Marathon goes much deeper than just xenophobia. The alleged gunman drew from the beliefs of the “Council of Conservative Citizens,” a prominent white supremacy group that uses the internet to send out its teachings and take in more followers, much like jihadist groups do.
The Tsarnaev brothers responsible for the Boston bombings drew inspiration from the actions of well-known terrorist organisations, despite there not being any evidence of them being linked to any. In both cases, extremely twisted beliefs led to the horrifying incidents.
Removal of hate in the mind is most imperative right now. And while removing guns and confederate flags will also help, if we look at the big picture, the effect of it will be like if you placed a band-aid on a bullet wound
Another common motif in these incidents is the unopposed, uncontrolled use of guns in the US. These incidents not only spark outrage over the blatant racism running rampant in the United States, but also call for what may bring an end to the streak of mass shootings in the states -- gun control.
It is a topic of constant debate; the removal of guns could definitely reduce the frequency of such incidents. Who would disagree with that? Unfortunately, too many people would. Oppression like that can’t possibly be enforced, after all, in the land of the free right?
The reasoning for this may be how greatly mass shootings drive up the sales and profit for the gun industry. Manufacturers of firearms see steep increases in sales of weapons each time a large shooting occurs, which along with searing tensions among people -- tensions further fuelled by the devastating incidents that seem to be occurring every other day -- lead to more people going out and purchasing guns for their own safety.
Rage-fuelled supporters, armed by the fear of finding themselves in one of these events, fervently support and fetishise the firearm industry, making it even harder to impose control laws.
This goes on to separate the liberals and conservatives; the former of these are seemingly on par with the rest of the world on its stance on gun control but are viewed by the latter as plain irrational, which makes it even more difficult to reach a consensus.
So, perhaps yes, making it a few steps more difficult to attain firearms will help mollify the situation, but we must remember that guns are not the ones doing the killing, people are, and in order to return to the accepting and tolerant society we should be, there are much deeper rooted evils that need to be weeded out first.
Removal of hate in the mind is most imperative right now. And while removing guns and confederate flags will also help, if we look at the big picture, the effect of it will be like if you placed a band-aid on a bullet wound.