The horrible Tennessee school massacre has once again thrust gun control into the spotlight of American politics. But, some politicians have pushed their agenda in the wake of the shooting by using divisive language and false facts.
Rep. Andy Ogles recently made an appearance on Fox News to talk about the incident and advocate for the detention of demonstrators at the statehouse without a trial. But maybe far more alarming was his condemnation of people who favored tougher gun control measures.
Ogles suggested that homicide and mental illness, rather than firearms, are to blame for the country’s problems. Even if this might be the case in certain instances, it ignores the fact that gun violence is a complicated problem with many underlying causes.
But, Ogles’ allusion to a New York Post article in which it was claimed that CBS had declined to publish the shooter’s transgender identity was truly alarming. Ogles appeared to be implying that the shooter’s gender identity was somehow connected to the shooting by bringing up this detail.
This speech is hazardous in addition to being destructive and polarizing. It encourages transphobia and furthers the stigmatization of a vulnerable minority. Additionally, it diverts attention away from the pressing need for realistic gun control laws in the US, which is the true problem at hand.
It is equally incorrect to claim that only mental illness is to blame for gun violence. While there is no doubt that mental illness can contribute to some shootings, it is crucial to remember that the majority of those who suffer from mental illness are not violent. In addition, people without a diagnosis of a mental condition commit the vast majority of firearms crimes in the US.
We must unite as a nation to find lasting answers rather than stigmatizing underprivileged populations and ignoring the intricate elements that contribute to gun violence. This entails putting into practice measures like widespread background checks, closing risky loopholes, and tackling the underlying causes of gun violence, such as systemic racism, inequity, and poverty.
We cannot permit politicians and media organizations to pursue their own objectives by using polarizing strategies and false information. To make society for all Americans safer and more just, we must cooperate.