How Many More?
AnnaMaria Leal, St. Francis College
Depicted is a collage featuring photos taken on two different occasions in 2019. The first occasion being a photoshoot in honor of those we have lost to mass shootings. The second occasion is a demonstration held in Manhattan, a few weeks after the initial photoshoot, by the gun control advocacy groups Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action. The aim of the piece is for the viewer to grasp the severity of the issue of gun violence within the United States. A singular photo could not do justice to the severity of the issue. This piece looks to the viewer to try and make sense of the impossible question, how many more? How many more people have to lose their lives to gun violence before the United States enacts stronger regulations regarding the buying and selling of guns and passes bills that help put an end to gun violence. The name and overall purpose of the piece was inspired by the center photo which depicts a woman holding a sign that reads “Hey, Hey, NRA – How many kids have you killed today?” A reminder to those who have the ability to make change to the relevant legislation, but don’t, that there is blood on their hands each and every time another act of gun violence occurs.
At end of 2019, there had been 417 mass shootings in the U.S. and by the end of 2020 there had been 611 – according to the data collected by Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit organization which collects data on every reported mass shooting that occurs in the U.S. There are straightforward answers to how we can make strides towards ending gun violence within our country, such as passing bills that strengthen and put in place regulations like background checks. Such measures would prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands. Lesser discussed solutions include the beautification of empty lots and abandoned buildings in our communities, which often serve as storage spaces for illegal guns. This solution, which is not often talked about, has become a focal point of the research of organizations like Colombia: SURGE. However, despite the increase in research regarding this major issue gun control still feels like an impossible issue to resolve because of the great division that exists within our country. It is an issue that divides so many people, yet still effects all of us. The varying cultures and political standings of people throughout the United States has led to a standstill in achieving the more than possible solution to such deadly issue.