This letter was in response to a previous note in the Community Forum (May 17) that urged West Windsor residents and business owners to wear and/or display orange as a way to stand in solidarity with the over 5,907 lives that have been tragically ended due to gun violence in 2019 alone (according to the Gun Violence Archive).
The author of the response letter, Sanjev Rajaram, argues that guns are not a problem in our community and that mass shootings are “statistical anomalies.”
In fact, Mr. Rajaram totally misses the point of the original letter. The author of the original piece specifically mentions that “we are fortunate to face no such challenge [gun violence] here [in West Windsor].”
Mr. Rajaram says that “there is only a one in two million chance that any given person in the USA will be affected by a mass shooting on any given day.”
Even if this is true, there are 327.2 million people in America, which means that 59,714 people are affected by mass shootings a year.
To put this in perspective, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2017 there were a little more than 47,000 suicides in the United States. Clearly, mass shootings are not a statistical anomaly.
Sadly, gun violence is a fatal issue in many communities, even in Mercer County. Even though guns are thankfully not a problem in West Windsor and Plainsboro, currently, it does not mean that we should discount the fact that the Virginia Beach shooting marks the 150th mass shooting in 2019 in the United States.
Gun violence affects us all. A recent example of this can be seen when after the Christchurch, New Zealand shooting, security was heightened at the local mosque.
While gun violence is not caused by guns, but rather by people, guns are the objects that perpetrators of mass shootings use to instigate fear and violence in people.
Mr. Rajaram ends his letter saying that actions that prevent gun violence must be equal with the risk. Is the author implying that since our own community has no risk, we should not take action to prevent gun violence through the appropriate use of guns or wearing orange and creating awareness?
Or, is the author arguing that since guns don’t directly cause gun violence, we should not take action to stop the mass slaughter of innocent victims?
Once again, I urge the residents of both West Windsor and Plainsboro to continue standing in solidarity with those who have been abruptly silenced by the tragedies of gun violence.
Daas is a rising freshman at Solebury school, in New Hope, Pennsylvania.