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DIANE KNOX: Gun culture in the United States feels like an alien concept

By Diane Knox

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There have been in excess of 200 mass shootings in the US this year.
There have been in excess of 200 mass shootings in the US this year.

I’m struggling to write about the massacre that unfolded in Uvalde, Texas last week. I’m struggling because of the sheer sadness that 19 young children went to school that morning and didn’t come home, as well as two of their teachers.

I’m struggling to type the words as a mother-to-be without tears streaming down my face.

And I’m struggling to contain the anger that boils up inside me as I write that this counts as the 27th school shooting in the US in 2022.

Not only that, but there have been in excess of 200 mass shootings in the US this year. These are statistics that have to anger everyone all around the world, period.

As a Scot who moved to the US in 2016, I struggle with the gun laws over here, or the lack of them.

My husband owns a gun; in fact, he owns two. When we first met, we had a lengthy, detailed conversation about it. I expressed my views and how uncomfortable the weapons made me feel, while he educated me on the Second Amendment and why, as an American, he has the right to own a gun to protect himself and his family.

Invernessian in America, Diane Knox.
Invernessian in America, Diane Knox.

Being honest, it was, and still is, a concept that is completely alien to me.

I remember Dunblane like it was yesterday, and I’d assume every single Scot who was alive on that day in 1996 remembers it too. As a result, strict gun laws were enforced in the UK. It remains Britain’s deadliest mass shooting.

Once Garrett and I became serious and I was spending more nights at his house, I wanted to know more about the guns – where they were kept, if they were loaded, what his course of action would be if someone ever broke into the house and threatened our safety.

He was completely understanding of my questions and concerns, and it’s still a topic we can discuss for hours on end. I respect his stance, and his rights, and he respects my views.

He suggested we go to the indoor shooting range and, honestly, I’ll never go back. I hated every second of it. I couldn’t feel comfortable knowing there were strangers just a few feet from me who were shooting guns, and my mind went to the worst possible scenario.

The issue is, the worst possible scenario isn’t confined to an indoor gun range. People carry guns with them everywhere, and that is their right. And someone has entered a school and shot pupils and teachers 27 times since January. But something has to change, and there is a deep divide over what that looks like.

I tweeted about the Robb Elementary shooting and, as expected, a few of the “you can’t take our guns” squad jumped on me.

It’s not about that – but there have to be stricter restrictions, more cohesive background checks, mental health analysis and clearance from a doctor. Why – and how – was a newly-turned-18-year-old allowed to purchase multiple weapons, and two assault rifles?

Why are people allowed to walk in off the street and buy assault rifles in the first place?

As clichéd as it sounds, with right becomes responsibility.

And that responsibility cannot just lie with the assailant – Congress must take some ownership. And action.

This won’t be solved overnight, but we all hope and pray something changes before it happens again. But time does not seem to be on our side.

Click here to read more from Diane Knox.

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