Guns and Law: Is America living the dream?

President Barack Obama

The United States needs to resolve the issue of gun control for the safety of its people.

Adekoya Boladale

Ask people who have ever held a gun or possess one before, they will tell you it is a unique experience.

Holding a gun brings so many feelings and sensation. It brings pride, confidence, prestige and a sense of independence. But when you ask further how they feel when they took the first killing shot, the stories are always the same- of a deep feeling of remorse depending on what has been shot at. To those that mistakenly shot an animal, to those that angrily shot a friend and above all to those that lost their mind and went on a killing spree, the experience leaves a huge trauma in their lives that can never be taken away.

There have been so many arguments and counter arguments on the proposed gun control by the Obama administration. I will agree both parties have presented convincing and reasonable reasons on why guns should be controlled and why it shouldn’t.

The anti-gun control group is right; this proposal will not stop the killings. In fact, with the data they have presented it may not even minimize it. I can’t remember President Obama stating that gun control will stop the killings; the main objective is to bring sanity to the environment. Check on guns will bring about devoted responsibility to the gun owners. Parents would be more careful when they know there is a proper record of every fire arms they have and that slight negligence may lead to a criminal case. The gun market which over the years has gone wild will be sanitized when you cannot just buy guns on the street.

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However, I will not join in the hot debate of facts and figures but rather on sanity and common sense which the foundation of America was built upon.

Let me start by saying I am not an American and has never stepped my foot on the American soil. However, my whole life has been tailored the American way.

I could remember in my primary school days, my class teacher ensured we recited the introduction to the Declaration of Independence every day; not because United States colonized my country and definitely not because we share the same history and tradition. We are two parallel lines.

My country, Nigeria, like every other nation in the early century was colonized by the ‘Queen’ and till date the blueprint of England remains with us- in education, in language and in government.

I respect America, not because it is portrayed as more superior or developed than other countries of the world but because of its dream. Yes, the American dream. I may not be qualified to talk about it as obviously I do not share an ancestral relationship with Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, but coming from a country with the best people in the world – but a failed system, I respect the American dream.

The dream of hope, the dream of life, the dream of freedom but above all the dream of choice. Nothing suits a person more than having the power to determine his future. Nothing is more valuable than having the chance to accomplish your dream no matter how ridiculous it appears. It is more ‘suiting’ that whatever step you take, no matter how queer your dreams appear, the government is behind you- not as an instructor or supervisor but as a fan, a diehard one who will open up its arms for you whether you fail or succeed.

All over the world people look up to the United States in every facet of life- in technology, in policies, in governance and in love for country. To say the USA is a global leader is an understatement, it is the world itself. Every day we see the US marines and soldiers flown around the world to help other countries in crisis. We watch as these gallant men of honour lay down their lives for the survival of the people they know nothing about- that is love.

However, it is embarrassing to see Americans living with little care for one another, for children in schools who cannot afford private security, for elders who cannot afford to run when being shot at, for the dumb who cannot cry for help when in danger. This is not the dream I was made to believe in. Laws are made for man and not man for laws. The discretion of the Founding Fathers to grant Americans access to guns should be praised. It is a sign of freedom; a tool for safety. However, it is not a tool for anarchy, it is not a tool for bullying, and no, it is not a tool to end the lives of others.

The United States is at war, there is a new threat to the dreams and hopes of the founding fathers- not from China, not from Russia, not from Germany, not from North Korea but from Americans themselves. Every day, thousands of Americans lose their lives not in war but in the pursuit of happiness. The kids are no longer safe in schools, death roams the streets, people can no longer sleep with their eyes closed because some set of individuals are misusing the freedom and rights enthroned upon them by the law. Guns now pass for communication and dialogue; people no longer cherish the sacred gift of life, and humanity is now valueless. This is unacceptable and should be condemned.

It should be condemned by the government who has been placed with the ultimate duty to protect lives before any other; by lawmakers who have sworn to an oath to protect the interest of the people they represent above their personal ego and partisan group, but most especially, this should be condemned by Americans whose future is at stake. It should be condemned by mothers and aspiring mothers who feel the agony and pain of twenty promising children with tears on their faces when being shot at. It should be condemned by youths who mostly are at the receiving end of the various gun deaths. It should be condemned by the old who understood more the value of human life and believe in the future of America.

Most of us around the world may not always like the United States. We may not agree with every of its decisions and opinion but beyond all of these, we look up to this great nation as a blazing sword which only points in one direction and that is the way of light.

If the United States cannot agree on a simple solution to its internal problem, how then can it lead the world?

Rights and privileges cannot be enforced where there is no life. The dead cannot complain of lack of gas, bad welfare and unappealing health service in the grave.

Survival is the first key to human existence before any other. The survival of America lies in the hands of Americans and how they intend to treat it depends solely on them.

Would it be a yes to life and checks on gun or would it be a yes to reoccurring deaths and no to a chance to checkmate it? The answer lies with you but in whichever decision you choose to make, ask yourself one thing and one thing alone, what would Lincoln, Washington, Luther King and Jefferson do?

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