On Jan. 23, a 72-year-old man opened fire in a Monterey Park, California, dance hall during a Lunar New Year celebration, killing 11 people and wounding nine others. Two days later, another mass shooting devastated the community of Half Moon Bay, California, claiming the lives of seven civilians just a mere 400 miles away from Monterey Park.
These acts of senseless violence are just the most recent examples of the United States’ gun violence epidemic — a plague that continues to afflict the U.S. more than any comparable wealthy country. This year to date, there have been 39 mass shootings in the U.S., which is more at this point than any previous year in the country’s history. Though there have been recent efforts to pass federal gun control legislation to curb such violence (such as the 2022 Bipartisan Safer Communities Act), the few that have been enacted have not effectively curbed gun violence. In turn, 2023 is on pace to be the deadliest year in American history — all because of rampant gun violence.
Kenyon students especially should be attuned to these issues as the Ohio state government becomes increasingly pro-gun. Governor Mike DeWine’s implementation of “stand your ground” laws and the state minimum of 24 hours of training for armed teachers threatens the safety of all Ohioans. While the 2022 midterm elections have already come and gone, students should continue the conversation — writing letters, making phone calls and educating those around them.
It is imperative that we take the issue of gun violence in this country seriously. We commend the efforts of Students Demand Action, a student organization which aims to spread awareness about gun violence on campus. Continued campus advocacy is an instrumental step in both educating people about gun violence’s prevalence and pushing for tangible legislative and policy change.
In Gambier, it is easy to feel isolated from the rest of the country, much less the rest of the world. It can be easy and comforting to insulate ourselves from problems that — especially those who are in a position of privilege — might feel like they don’t exist here. It’s important to acknowledge first that they do, and also that we must think outside the Kenyon bubble.
Salvatore, Amelia and Reid
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Amelia Carnell ’23 and Salvatore Macchione ’23 and executive director Reid Stautberg ’23. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, respectively.