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“Another” is 45 too many: The nonsense of gun violence through the eyes of a foreigner.

I am not American. Not yet, at least. I know that this, automatically, will make my opinion on this matter unworthy to anyone on the NRA’s side. But I don’t care.

I don’t care, because I may not be American yet, but I teach in American universities. My sons are American and attend American schools. So are my students. And this morning, when I arrived to my office at 7, I locked my door. A door that I normally leave open in case a student wants to come in, was closed because I felt uneasy. I felt unsafe because someone took four guns, went to a college and started shooting at people yesterday.

I am not going to get into why he did that. I just know that for some reason, be it age, hormonal status, stress, bullying, or just the mere fact that they are places where large numbers of people concentrate without much safety (or the possibility of enforcing it) universities and schools are more prone to be subject to shootings than any other places.

But here is one funny fact: there are schools in Spain too. And in England. And in Australia. Every single country has schools. But not every single country has mass shootings on a monthly basis. You know when the last mass shooting happened in Spain? 1990. And it didn’t even happen in a school. Do you know how many school shootings have taken place in the US just in 2015? 45.

I am not going to argue that universities and schools need to have better systems to help their students with mental health problems. That is a fact. But clearly, that is not the main problem. That is not the main difference. The difference between Spain (enter here the name of any other European country, Australia, etc), is that weapons are not as prevalent in those countries as they are here.

In Spain, to obtain a firearms permit, you need to pass a psychological  and physical test, you need a background check and be clear of any criminal history, you have to register your weapon and explain why you need it. The fact that you like guns and  really want to have 35 of them in your basement won’t cut it.

I understand that many Americans defend their constitutional right to bear arms. But we have to take into account their fellow citizen’s right to be alive. To me it’s clear which one should prevail.

Most of these shootings were perpetrated with weapons purchased legally, either by the criminals themselves or by someone who didn’t secure them properly. We don’t know yet if that was the case in the Oregon shooting, but at this point that is irrelevant. Too many of them have been.

I am not even proposing to ban weapons altogether, that would be unthinkable here. But we owe to our kids to make gun control happen. Is it expensive? Sure. But if Spain can afford it, so can the US.

Will it diminish your liberties? As long as you are a law abiding, reasonable and stable citizen, it won’t. As for the liberties of criminals, I couldn’t care less about them. It’s not like they will care about their victim’s liberties.


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