Today, celebrating freedom has become synonymous with violence and hate. Because neither in school, in a church, a bar, nor even on an independence parade is one free. Photo Credit: Brian Meller
This summer had multiple gatherings and festivities planned such as Pride and 4th of July parades. Pride 2022 has been celebrated worldwide in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. Communities and allies come together to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community in their cities with the objective to be visible and proud to the public. Amongst the hate and homophobia in society, the LGBTQIA+ community still has the courage to show up every year to come together and celebrate their diversity and inclusivity. This year summer events in these cities had their festivities halted abruptly because of mass hysteria.
In San Francisco, a macing incident was reported. As the screams started from the macing incident, the screams snowballed into mass hysteria and pride attendees mistook the incident for a shooting occurrence. At New York Pride, a firework was accidentally set off and was obviously mistaken as a gunshot. This led to crowds running for their lives, believing the firework was the beginning of a shooting.
A new-age theme amongst American festivals and parades is that they are not safe due to the potential of mass shootings and how easy they can happen at any time to anyone. Just like in San Francisco and New York, pride event attendees ran thinking they were in danger and needed to escape to ensure the safety of their lives. This does not just happen at exclusively Pride events. It happens at almost every event in America. This level of fear can only result in the overwhelming trauma that is resulted in a high number of mass shootings that happen every day in America. Mass shootings happen in schools, malls, grocery stores, movie theaters, clubs, and even recently at a 4th of July parade. With this amount of fear and danger in the country, one would be led to assume that gun reform would indeed be ensured in the United States to protect Americans. America is the only major country where terrorist attacks like shootings happen daily. Events like Pride and 4th of July are not safe from shootings and without proper government legislation, citizens have little power to resolve the issue.
On July 4th in Illinois, Highland Park, there was a mass shooting that resulted in seven killed and two dozen injured. Even at a patriotic event such as July 4th, safety cannot be guaranteed for citizens that want to enjoy festivals and holidays. This brings awareness and concern to the safety and security of the state of America. Is it really safe to gather in large groups anymore? Multiple people in the LGBTQIA+ community did not even want to attend their local pride festivities due to the fear of the potential of hate crimes and shootings happening. In the current state of the nation, gun rights are more prioritized than safety. The consistency of mass shootings that happen in the country has become so extreme that schools have students practice for potential shootings. Even with this practice, the safety of students is not fully ensured as we saw in the Uvalde school incident. Where in Uvalde there was a school shooting and the Uvalde Police department was not able to protect the students in the school.
With multiple shootings happening daily, it is only right to believe that citizens do not feel safe anywhere they go no matter how well they know their cities. We see peaceful protests such as Roe vs. Wade being overturned that have more of a police presence than events that actually need law and protection.
Considering all the violence and injustice in the United States can lead people to question the validity of the government and its law enforcement. Can citizens really trust their own government to care and prioritize their freedom and safety? Crime and violence happen so often in the country and nothing of urgency is being done to resolve the issues at hand. Multiple people have died at the hand of gun violence and that has been due to the ill leadership of their local and federal governments. Gun violence has stained the pride of American culture. Without proper leadership and legislation, the current state of America will only get worse and will eventually reach its tipping point.
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