The tragedy that occurred at the Capital Gazette newsroom on Thursday reaffirms the legitimacy of two pressing issues we currently face that many have tried to sweep under the rug: our country has a major gun problem and our journalists are under attack.
Jarrod W. Ramos, the suspected shooter, bought the 12-gauge pump-action shotgun used in the attack legally last year. Ordinarily, there would be nothing wrong with that, but this is not an ordinary case.
In 2011, Ramos plead guilty to harassment charge. After reconnecting with a former classmate via Facebook in 2009, Ramos quickly turned hostile as he “alternately asked for help [and] called her vulgar names” in his correspondence, according to the Gazette article written about the case.
“He seems to think there’s some sort of relationship here that does not exist,” said the woman to the judge from the case. “I tried to back away from it, and he just started getting angry and vulgar to the point I had to tell him to stop.”
Ramos didn’t stop, and contacted her again in 2010 telling the woman that she should “hang [herself].”
So why was Ramos—a man with a history of aggression and harassment who was court-ordered to attend therapy for these issues and was fired from his previous job at the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics for “security suitability concerns”—allowed to purchase a gun?
Some people find the answer to that question controversial. They say that the Second Amendment gives them the right to bear arms and that more stringent regulations of that right would infringe upon it. But the answer is not controversial. The truth is that some people just should not be allowed to own a gun.
The string of mass shootings committed with legally purchased weapons show without a doubt that the current state of our gun laws has placed guns in the hands of the wrong people.
The logical solution would be to strengthen our laws and make sure that the people who are allowed to own guns are responsible, well-equipped to handle them, and will not use guns to senselessly harm people.
Any responsible gun owner who objects to that idea is not a responsible gun owner. All of our rights are limited; if you’re really one of the “good guys”, why would you object to limiting this one right in order to keep guns out of the hands of people who are likely to endanger others?
While ultimately Ramos was the one who pulled the trigger and caused the deaths of five people and the injury of two others, we as a country share some of the blame. We have allowed our gun problem to persist for too long. Too many people seem to be more concerned about their Second Amendment right to own a gun than everyone’s First Amendment right to life.
There is a reason why the first rights the Founders thought to give us were the rights to life and a free press. They are the most important rights we have, the very bedrock of our “free” nation.
But these rights are under attack. Recently, it seems like every day there is another mass shooting tragedy on the news. Before Trump even took office he turned his supporters against every media outlet that he disagreed with for doing its job by reporting the truth about him. As a student journalist, it has been difficult to see every form of media I consume flooded with the words “school shooting” or “fake news.”
News of the Gazette shooting broke my heart. It has been even more difficult for the victims and their loved ones.
“I have to live life now without my mother,” said Winters Geimer, victim Wendi Winters’ daughter.
As Geimer said, the death of her mother and her colleagues was a “senseless tragedy.” The victims’ only crime was being faithful to their duty of informing the public. They were wrongly targeted by Ramos simply for reporting the truth of his 2011 conviction.
However, as always in the wake of such tragedies, there is beauty and comfort in the way the nation is coming together in support of the victims. Over 300 people attended a candlelight vigil for the victims on the waterfront in Annapolis, Maryland, on Friday, and in just one day people raised over $128,000 through GoFundMe to help cover funeral, medical, and repair costs caused by the tragedy.
Even Donald Trump, who seems to be the greatest enemy journalists face today, showed his support at a press event for his tax plan.
“This attack shocked the conscience of our nation and filled our hearts with grief. Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job. To the families of the victims, there are no words to express our sorrow for your loss,” said Trump.
There is always a surge of hope as we gather as a nation after a tragedy, but it will take a lot more than hope for us to achieve our goal of #NeverAgain. We need to take action. We need to march and rally and vote until we make change. Preventing another senseless tragedy is the least we can do for all those already victimized by one.
Source:: The Harbinger