Hayley McCarthy

Orlando: Dear America—Put Down Your Guns

Dear America, as an Australian living in your borders, I have accepted that guns are a part of everyday life. But after Orlando, I think we need to have a talk.


Dear America,

It’s a strange thing. Since arriving from Australia, never have I been more fortunate to be allowed to live in such a country as this. Opportunity is around every corner.

But around those same corners, the good walks with the bad.

With the choice to live here, I accept that guns are a way of life. I have had to accept that owning a gun is an apparent necessity in order to protect oneself. I have been made to feel as though I need a gun, in the fear-based assumption that someone will try to use one on me. And, you know what? You’re right, America.

I have never felt so unsafe.

Shootings at schools on the news, down to drive-by shootings on my block (an apparent safe part of town). The possibilities of someone in this country accessing a firearm and using it on me is very real.

I was shocked by the ease with which you can buy a gun in this country. 18+ to own a rifle, 21+ to own a handgun. And all you need is a background check. Tall letters on a piece of paper allows one person the opportunity to take a life of another, be it in self-defense or otherwise.

Bad people will do bad things regardless of the situation, but let us limit the severity of their actions.

Now, let’s say that a person with a clear background check has an out-of-character bad day and “cracks it.” He/she grabs their gun and off they go, allowing feelings to trump all. But if accessibility was more difficult, during the time it would take for them to acquire a weapon, their mood might have stabilized enough for rational thought processes.

Yes, I am not American and I should not judge the country that has welcomed me. But I’m a human, and human life is global. The numbers speak loudest. More than 50 lives lost in Orlando and 50+ injured.

This country is making its decisions entirely based on fear.

It’s a sad way to live, America.

Put down your guns.




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