I want to shop in peace, not shop in terror.
Growing up in Florida I was always taught different actions to take in the event of hurricanes, tornadoes, a stranger approaching and shootings.
I’ve experienced all of these events except one — a shooting.
By the grace of God, I can say that. Still, numerous Americans of all ages can’t say the same. That is unacceptable.
Every day when I go shopping at Walmart and other department stores, I stroll through the aisles to see makeup, hair products, video games, and school supplies locked up behind glass doors, yet until recently, guns and ammunition are proudly on display with deals being broadcast. The same care is taken for eye shadow and killing machines.
This makes sense for a country that boldly states in its Bill of Rights that we have the right to bear arms.
“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” the Second Amendment states.
What about the rights to those killed by the abuse of this amendment?
There were 26 killed in the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012, 49 lost at PULSE nightclub in 2016, 58 murdered at a Las Vegas concert in 2017 and, most recently, 22 slaughtered at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.
In the span of seven years, countless lives were taken off this earth and no one seems to care. When did we allow ourselves to become so indifferent to such actions?
When the Walmart massacre occurred, I overheard some startling conversations.
“Oh, those poor people, may their family find peace, well anyway like I told you — I didn’t really like the new it movie, it was whack,” someone said.
Even reporters blew past it the same way we fast-forward through commercials.
It’s truly frightening how normalized this has become. How we must consistently be on the lookout for the nearest exit. The newest trend is even more startling with bulletproof clothes, backpacks and blankets.
Despite government inaction, there is change on the horizon as department stores are starting to self-regulate and change the conversation.
Recently Walmart put out a statement announcing its intention to discontinue much of its ammunition sales as well as a complete elimination of hand gun sales. In addition, they will no longer allow customers to openly carry firearms in stores.
Dick’s Sporting Goods and Kroger are also testing the waters. DSG is pulling all hunting gear including guns from 135 stores and Kroger are telling customers to stop openly carrying guns in their stores.
Both anti-gun and gun rights advocates have strong opinions on these actions, all saying these stores will no longer receive money from them if their particular stances are not taken.
The influence of money is what holds back change in this world. Most retailers are afraid of losing their steady cash flow from loyal consumers who either happen to be anti-gun activists or gun rights advocates.
However, what all these retailers need to realize is that it isn’t about removing someone’s rights or watching out for your bottom line.
It’s about protecting lives not machines.
Every American’s right is to live and breathe. We all just want to get our ice-cream or Redboxes in our pajamas and make it home alive.
Yet, our entire country is split on this issue when there isn’t a need.
We need more enhanced and safer procedures, background checks and practices regarding acquiring, carrying and maintaining these firearms. We don’t need to completely ban firearms, just make commonsense reforms.