America’s dangerous game of Selective Amnesia
By: Fred Kojo Kyeremeh, Editorial
As the year 2018 draws to a close, many of us are already beginning to look back at the myriad of things that have taken place in the past 11 months, and we are already beginning to make big plans and resolutions for the New Year. Yet, one thing that we all try so hard to put a mental block on is the sad reality of gun violence. This past week, a social media meme has been circulating on our phones after the reports on the romaine lettuce contamination. When I saw the meme, I couldn’t help but think to myself, how apt and timely. To me, the message was simple, yet powerful. It had a sort of “Gun violence for dummies” type of connotation to it and it exposed the double standard, deception, our ignorance and tone-deaf attitude to the issue of gun violence. Do all lives really matter? Excuse my sarcasm, but If we are going to take a firm stand as a nation against romaine lettuce, how can’t we do same when it comes to the menace of gun violence?
A cursory look at the Centers for Disease Control’s website, gives a full description of the romaine lettuce scare. It breaks down the affected states, number of reported cases etc. According to the CDC website, there have been zero deaths. But they caution the public to stay away from all types or uses of romaine lettuce, such as whole heads of romaine, hearts of romaine, and bags and boxes of precut lettuce and salad mixes that contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, and Caesar salad. They even give a 5-step process to clean our refrigerators in case there is possible contamination.
Yet, we fail to do same after a mass shooting. What are we supposed to do, one may ask? Perhaps we can keep perfecting our active shooter drills; but really, when are we going to be bold enough as people to bring all our three branches of government together and say it is time to do something about gun violence? Are we simply unable to reconcile the dangers of a contaminated lettuce with a potential to cause mass deaths to that of the havoc an assault rifle can unleash within seconds? As a veteran and a gun owner, I believe in the second amendment too, but the second amendment was created by humans, humans evolve and adapt to changes; just as compromises were made to the constitution to see to its ratification, perhaps it is time to take a common sense look at the second amendment, maybe this time with our blinders off.
It is barely December, yet there have been at least 307 mass shootings in the United States this year. There have been over 12, 000 shooting related deaths in America this year, and we cannot even begin to count the number of shooting related injuries. But of course, we should continue to deceive ourselves and act like worse things are happening beyond gun violence. Don’t get me wrong, E. coli and salmonella contaminations are dangerous, and we need to be vigilant about not eating contaminated food, but one can only wonder if the emphasis we place on such food related alerts are truly sincere. Because to be quite honest, what’s the point of surviving a death by a contaminated lettuce, only to be shot and killed by a stray bullet? Where is our sense of urgency as a nation?