Sandy Hook Lawsuit Is A Critical Victory
There have been more mass shootings in the U.S. than days this year as of Nov. 17.
As of today, 321 days have passed this year, and 366 mass shootings, or any incident where four people were shot, have been reported, according to the nonprofit organization Gun Violence Archive (GVA).
This now includes the Saugus High School shooting in Santa Clarita, Calif. Nov 12, where two students were killed and injured.
And since 1984, about 248 people have died in mass shootings by gunmen wielding two of America’s most popular weapons: the AR-15 and AK-47 semi automatic rifles.
However, the families of these victims may be one step closer to seeking some form of answers, action and justice.
The Supreme Court decided not to block the lawsuit by relatives of Sandy Hook Elementary shooting victims against Remington Arms Company, the maker of the rifle used in the slaying Dec. 14, 2012, finally holding gunmakers to some accountability.
This necessary decision comes six and a half years too late, but now the victims’ families can challenge a federal law protecting the U.S. gun-industry from lawsuits. They’ve also shifted the playing field against pro-gun supporters and the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The basis of this suit is justified regarding the marketing of the Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle to troubled young men through advertising in violent video games and in pitches like “consider your man card reissued,” “the opposition will bow down” and other promotions of its “assaultive qualities, military uses and lethality” as seen in the Remington Arms ads and the Sandy Hook suit.
These reckless, disturbing marketing tactics will draw awareness to America’s hypermasculine perceptions, which lead to males’ conflicts over social expectations and male entitlement and control. Also, this connects to American men’s lack of proper coping skills, emotional expression capabilities and connectivity with their various, complex issues.
This unhealthy connection between gun-ownership and carry, loose regulations and accountability and misinterpreted masculinity is one of the major differences between the U.S. and other countries in their rates of mass violence.
This country is known to account for roughly 45 percent of all the world’s privately owned firearms. These disparities in gun violence between the U.S. and other developed countries stems from the high amount of guns available per capita and the permissive gun laws in this country. The U.S. should take notes from countries like Switzerland, France, Italy, South Korea, New Zealand and many more that also have higher gun ownership, diagnosable mental illness and violent video game usage, but much fewer gun-related issues.
As for the Bushmaster and other AR-15 style rifles, there’s no argument Remington’s glorified rifle is a weapon of choice amongst mass shooters and is simply too dangerous for the public as it was adapted from the military’s M-16 assault rifle, and its battlefield uses that make it “customizable, adaptable, reliable and accurate,” according to the NRA.
Solving the nation’s gun violence problems isn’t within the Sandy Hook families’ realm of power, and apparently, nor in the government’s at this moment.
But we may see this case follow suit with others like major tobacco companies in 1998, alcohol makers in 2003 and now Juul Labs Inc. in 2019. They were all sued for their secret marketing tactics, specifically by targeting minors and lacking essential information which lead to health complications.
If America refuses to allow big companies and industries to target and kill young adults through substance abuse, it shouldn’t be so appalling to fight back against the gun industry.
These companies cloud American minds to think individual rights to bear arms hold superiority over the safety and well-being of the nation.
Standing with Sandy Hook families in their suit doesn’t mean monetary compensation for lost, innocent lives. It means holding gunmakers legally responsible for the fatalities caused by its product.
The nation said Sandy Hook would be the last mass shooting. Then the Orlando nightclub shooting of 2016. Then the Las Vegas shooting in 2017… until the country was left with at least 2,295 mass shootings since Sandy Hook, with at least 2,601 killed and 9,557 wounded, according to Vox.
This won’t be the last mass shooting. This won’t be the last attempt to find justice. The gateway to new opportunities is open for everyone, and the people shouldn’t have to wait for more people to die to make their voices heard.
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Lauren Pickett, junior, is a staff reporter for the Messenger. She is a member of Student Council as well as Academic and Cultural Club. In her free time,...