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  • Writer's pictureHoward McBroom

Our Lives Hang By a Thread

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

Our lives hang by a thread. That’s what I realized when I heard about the shooting in Chicago this past Saturday. A 32-year old man with a history of criminal behavior and mental illness went on a shooting rampage. His first victim was a student from China who had come to America to study economics at the University of Chicago. He was shot in his car in a parking garage and killed instantly. The shooter then went to a nearby apartment building where he shot and killed a security guard and critically injured a 77-year old woman who was retrieving her mail. He then went on to shoot a few other people, including a 15-year old girl who was in the car with her mother. The shooter eventually ended up in Evanston, Illinois, where he was confronted by the police in an IHOP parking lot and killed. All these victims were ordinary people doing ordinary things. Meanwhile, the shooter had a criminal record of domestic battery, accumulated a bunch of other charges, and was clearly mentally ill. He was a red flag that should have been stopped years ago. Just before he went on his shooting rampage, he made a rant on social media that included a ton of insults and profanities. He was a time bomb that was ready to explode and Saturday afternoon, he did. We shouldn’t have to live like this, knowing that our lives could be cut short at any moment.

Our lives hang by a thread. This sort of thing can happen to any of us. People don’t realize this and they don’t stop to think about the emotional devastation that this sort of thing causes. Imagine how that guy’s family in China feels. They sent their son to America to be educated at a well-known university and he ended up dead. And imagine how the mother of the 15-year old girl must be feeling. One minute she’s driving safely with her daughter, and the next, her daughter gets shot in the head. Things like this don’t only cause emotional devastation to the victim and their families, but to society as a whole. When these things happen, it destroys all respect for human life. We have to stop these shootings from happening and in order to do that, we need to understand what causes people like this to go on rampages. Most of the time, it’s because these people don’t have the skills they need to handle the world, so eventually, they explode in one way or another. Some commit suicide, some run off and disappear, and others shoot people. These human time bombs all around us. To help stop them from acting out, we need to do things to improve their mental health and we need better medications to treat mental illnesses. We also need to have classes that teach people emotional skills and show them how to deal with others in a positive way. People who go out and shoot are troubled on many different levels, so we need to set up a network of clinics that’ll help them. Hopefully, this will help stop all the violence that’s occurring in our nation. Another way to stop the frequencies of shootings is to have stricter gun laws. The shooter from this weekend should never have been able to obtain a gun. He was an obvious danger seeing as he had a history of drug use, criminal behavior, and domestic assault. Under no circumstances should he have had a gun, but unfortunately, he did, and people paid the consequences for that. All of our lives hang by a thread and that thread could be snapped at any moment. The Chicago shooter chose his victims entirely at random. He didn’t know any of the people he shot, which should instill fear within us that none of us are entirely safe. We need to insist that measures be taken to stop this kind of violence because we deserve better. Our loved ones deserve better. And we should be doing whatever we can to protect them.

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