Melvin Taylor, Brand Marketer

Nov. 7, 2018, Marine veteran Ian David Long, 28, opened fire at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, killing 12 people and taking his own life. The bar was having a college night. Long entered the bar with dark clothing and used smoke bombs to start confusion inside. He shot the security guard and then shot at those inside the bar. According to news site VC Star, officers said around 30 shots were fired. The gun used in the shooting was legally purchased by Long.

This year there was the Parkland, Florida, shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the Jacksonville, Florida, Madden tournament shooting. Now, there is the Thousand Oaks shooting. I have never understood why more steps are not taken to prevent tragedies like these. I think these tragedies have become too common. News comes out that a shooting has happened, people flock to social media to ask what is going on and send their thoughts and prayers to those affected, the media covers it, the president talks about it, and then another one happens. There are conversations of mental illness, banning guns, gun control, and how a good guy with a gun could have prevented it. I cannot forget the people sarcastically using tragedies to push their political agendas too.

This situation makes me think back to a comment I saw on social media a long time ago. It was a comment saying that veterans need to be placed in every school which would give them a job and allow them to prevent a tragedy from happening. The interesting thing about that comment and this situation is that Long was one of those supposed “good guys with a gun.” He was a veteran but instead of saving people, he used his power to harm others. A veteran with a legally owned gun cannot be suspicious in anyway, right? Wrong.

According to USA Today, police had contacted Long multiples times in recent years. A mental health crisis team was called this year to investigate an incident at Long’s home. This caused him to become angry and irrational. Long was not taken into custody after this incident. It is also important to mention that Long got into a bar fight three years ago. You have someone with access to weapons with anger issues. The mental health crisis team decided he did not need to be taken into custody which is fair, but I think that anyone with anger issues should not be around weapons. This is just for safety precautions. I know nothing about his mental state but to kill 12 people, something was clearly wrong with Long.

Nothing changes when a shooting happens. Thoughts and prayers are sent. The media has discussions on the topic that go nowhere. The president gives a speech or tweets something out. Everyone moves on with their lives. Then another one happens. What is it going to take for someone to realize that something needs to change? How many more people will die before someone actually tries to fix the problem?

If its gun control, people are getting their guns taken away. If its banning guns, another weapon will take its place and people still find ways to get guns. If it’s mental illness that does not excuse the person from hurting other people under any circumstances. If a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun, why does it not happen more often? In fact, I think we hear more about supposed “good guys with guns” hurting innocent people. Long could have been considered one of the “good guys with a gun” yet he murdered 12 people. I am not saying that all veterans would follow in Long’s footsteps. If someone thinks that veterans or anyone for that matter should be stationed at a place of business or a school to protect others, they need to go under a mental health test every year. We have to make sure these people can effectively protect us from threats.

Discussions go on every time a shooting happens, but nothing comes from that discussion. This endless cycle needs to stop and a solution needs to be decided on already.