Obama speaking passionately in front of the US flag.
Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential election was celebrated for numerous reasons; Obama was the first black president in the history of the United States, he was the man who was supposed to unite a nation. He was the man who was appointed to heal the scars left behind from 9/11. Obama was the man who was tasked with reinstalling trust between communities and police forces. He had outlined a plan to do so, which is why he was on course to win the election.
Then disaster struck.
In the months leading up to the 2008 election, both Obama and John McCain learned that their first, and possibly only term in office would be spent trying to bring the country from the brink of an abyss. The plan changed. Out with Obama’s vision for America, in with his economic recovery plan. Going into the 2008 election, 55% of voters thought that the economy was the biggest concern, according to an “iPOLL”. Obama pitched an economic plan to the country, and they bought it. Obama won with 53% of the votes, with the country focusing on economic recovery. African-American’s still turned out in record numbers to vote for Obama, as they believed that he could handle the economy whilst giving them a voice.
Obama couldn’t do it. To be fair to the man, it was a near-impossible job that no President could have done. Trying to bring the country back from the Great Recession, whilst battling with a Republican-led Congress isn’t easy. Obama slapped a plaster on the growing racial tensions in inner cities, hoping that minimal attention and no action would on gun violence would be suffice. Obama’s adopted home, Chicago, has been one of the worst cities for gun violence. Obama failed to act on gun violence in his first term, but soon stood up and took notice in his second term.
Sandy Hook Elementary school was the place of America’s second worst mass shooting in history. The tragedy shook the country to the core. Obama barely held himself together at his press conference regarding the horrific act. Calls for tighter gun control got louder. Obama was prepared to act.
Obama felt the pain of the parents who had lost their children in the Sandy Hook massacre.
On 19th December 2012, Obama announced his support of an effort to revive an assault weapons ban. In February 2013, Obama urged Congress to vote on various pieces of gun control legislation. In August 2013, President Obama closed a loophole in gun laws which allowed the acquisition of machine guns. Obama also banned US military firearms that had been overseas from returning to the US. These were certainly steps in the right direction for a country riddled with gun problems. However, the American public retaliated. After Obama’s re-election in 2012, gun sales soared through the roof. Assault weapons were the most popular choice of firearm, with many buyers purchasing guns because of the National Rifle Association’s warning that Obama wanted stricter gun control. Many gun shops across the US called Obama “the best gun salesman in history.”
Obama’s presidency doesn’t have long left. During the last 4 years, gun violence has become the norm in America. Mass shootings are accepted as a part of life. The Orlando shooting earlier this year was atrocious, but it seems to have been forgotten about and grouped with all the other recent shootings that have taken place in America. Mass shootings and gun violence should not be accepted as part of life in America, but it is.
Obama is tired of it. So is the rest of the world. He expressed his anger at the constant barricades he has faced when trying to bring forward gun legislation in a speech to the US conference of mayors; Obama urged a change in public opinion on gun control when he said “Every country has violent, hateful or mentally unstable people… What’s different is not every country is awash with easily accessible guns.” It is so easy to get your hands on a gun in the US. You have to be 21 before you can legally drink alcohol, it took until just last year for same sex marriage to be legalised, yet you can buy a gun at the age of 14 in some states. 14 years old; just let that sink in. It is unbelievable.
Reggie Yates: Life and Death in Chicago
Inner city gun violence is arguably more of a problem than mass shootings. I recently watched a BBC documentary titled “Reggie Yates: Life and Death in Chicago”; it was one of the most powerful and moving documentaries I have ever seen. It inspired me to write this article. I saw a broken society; one that pits the police against the people, specifically young African-Americans. Gangs roam the streets, with much of the public scared for their own wellbeing. You would not think that Chicago was situated in the world’s biggest superpower. Police brutality has shattered the little trust that was left between communities and the law enforcers. in 2015, 306 African-American’s were killed by police in the US, with 8 murders happening in Chicago alone. In the documentary, Reggie is filmed at a young African-American’s funeral. After the funeral, we see Reggie get word that there is a retaliation planned on 115th street. The victim, Lee, was a young 22 year old with his whole future ahead of him. Lee’s friends felt the need to retaliate and take matters into their own hands by releasing their anger through gun violence. It is a vicious cycle that won’t stop until gun laws change. It is easy to see why there have been over 150 African-Americans fatally shot in Chicago this year, especially when there is such a huge circulation of guns.
Gun laws need to change. They need to change fast. Every country sees that America’s gun laws need to change apart from America themselves. Obama tried to tighten gun security, but failed; he was met with obstacle after obstacle, whether it was the NRA or Congress. The wave of racial hatred that Donald Trump has unleashed upon the American public has only divided US society even more than what it was, with his racist views pitting whites against the rest.
The NRA logo
The title of this article asks whether it is time to revoke the Second Amendment. I strongly believe that now is the time to revoke the right for American citizens to own firearms. The Second Amendment was adopted in 1791. The world has changed since then, and it has changed drastically. As the world changes, I believe that the Constitution must be reviewed and adapted- starting with the removal of the Second Amendment. Today, guns are more powerful than they have ever been-thanks to the continued development of technology. Guns today do much more damage than anyone could have imagined 100 years ago. The Orlando shooting is a perfect example of how guns can wreck havoc in a matter of seconds. Over 50 people were mowed down in what seemed like a split second. The thing is though, guns do more damage than the physical pain they cause to the victim. The mental damage that a gun creates is just as bad as the physical damage a gun causes. The family of Lee, the young African-American who was killed earlier this year, must have been through hell when they found out that he had died. Lee was the victim of a senseless murder thanks to an over-emotional person with a gun.
A sad but true cartoon titled “America the ballistic.”
People don’t think it will happen to them until they get a police officer knocking on their door, telling them that a loved one has been caught in the crossfire of a gang attack, or that their loved one has been the victim of a police officer abusing their power. People who do not think that America has a gun problem must have psychological problems-do they not see what is happening around them? American society is crumbling. Gun violence is a part of everyday life, people must roll their eyes when they read the news: “Another homicide in Chicago this morning.”
American citizens, specifically the older generation, believe that they need a gun to keep them safe. Keep safe from who? ISIS? What good comes of having a gun in your house? They must be able to see that guns do more harm than good. When any President tries to move forward with gun control, gun sales go through the roof. The gun owners believe that said President (Bill Clinton & Obama are good examples) are personally attacking them and their right to own a gun. If gun owners in America lived elsewhere, they would find it extremely difficult to buy a gun. Most of the older generation in America who own guns wouldn’t even qualify for a gun in the UK. Do you want to know why they wouldn’t qualify for one? Because they don’t need a gun.
I believe that one of the best ways to revoke the Second Amendment is to target the younger generation. It is pointless trying to change the older generation’s mind, as they have it wired into their brains that you should (be able to) own a gun. One of the ways that the younger generation can be targeted is through education. If American children are taught that guns do more harm than good, and that you don’t need a gun in your house, then they will become more accepting of the fact that the Second Amendment is outdated. I appreciate that this is an extremely hopeful and long term view, but if American society is to fix itself, then this is a possible way to do it.
The removal of the Second Amendment will take a long time to come about; I accept that the day may never arrive in my lifetime. I look on with great sadness as the American society rips itself to shreds through gun violence, as do many people from across the globe. Until gun control is severely tightened in the US and the Second Amendment is revoked, there will continue to be a vast amount of pain and suffering caused by guns.
Until the day comes that America is without its Second Amendment, there will continue to be vast inner city gun violence and numerous mass shootings.
Until that day comes, the Civil War in America will rage on.