Photo: some rights reserved by travelling.steve
Gun violence has been a hot topic recently. There are conversations in the mainstream news, in our classrooms and in our homes about the best way to handle access to firearms and how to prevent their use in senseless violence. Here at We’Ced, we had a conversation with our young folks asking them where they’ve been talking about gun violence and how they perceive the gun culture to be here in our hometown. Take a look, you may be surprised by what you read.
Have you been having conversations around gun violence? Where have you been discussing the issue?
Lisa, 16: In class we talk about gun violence a lot. Whether there should be stricter laws, no more laws or [guns should be] banned completely. We’ve been having this discussion mostly in my English class. We’re even doing a persuasive essay on pro-gun control/con-gun control.
Ana, 16: I haven’t been talking about gun laws at school or anywhere besides here at We’Ced’s meetings. Actually, I personally haven’t experienced gun violence at all. Once when I was little I found a bag of handguns in my toy box. I didn’t know what to do so I told my mom. I didn’t ever find out whose they were or how they got there.
Lisbeth, 16: We’ve been talking about gun violence in my World History class. We even took a day off to debate whether they should blame guns [for gun violence]. A girl said, “why should they ban guns if they don’t shoot by themselves at people?” People also said that if guns are so dangerous and unnecessary than why do we need them?
Jesus, 17: I have been talking about gun violence at school. The conversations would take place in my AP Government class, in my English class or with friends. We mostly just talk about “bad” weapons, such as assault rifles. We haven’t really discussed the causes of the recent mass shootings.
Austin, 18: Whenever I join a conversation about gun violence, it is directly related to a shooting, like Sandy Hook, for example. Other occasions include how Obama is tackling the issue. I usually have these conversations in my AP Government class but not that often.
Mia, 17: When talking about gun violence, it tends to become very negative due to the fact that people base their argument on the Second Ammendment. Personally, I feel that the right to bear arms can be a life-saver and a positive thing, but the loose and uncontrolled policies on gun ownership are ridiculous! I think that the laws on owning a gun need to be stricter and that tests need to be involved.
Kalvin, 17: I’ve been talking about gun violence in class a lot. I actually have an essay to do on the pros and cons of gun control. We’ve been talking about gun control, what causes gun violence and how to solve gun violence.
Diego, 18: I have been talking about this at school and have been informed about most of the main reasons why gun control is a big issue right now. My teacher has presented videos for both pro and con side of gun control.
Alyssa, 19: Gun control has been a topic of discussion in my workplace or on facebook for me. I’ve heard a variety of opinions on the matter and I’ll occasionally catch some bit of information on the news.
What is the gun culture like, to you, here in Merced?
Alyssa: I feel the gun culture in Merced is very present and has definitely affected the community. Growing up I usually had a relative that was on probation or parole living with us, so that allowed law enforcement to search and seize our house without a warrant. Living in a home where house raids were common, my first experiences with guns began at a young age. My two older brothers are also gang affiliated so having guns in the house or talk of where to get them wasn’t uncommon.
I also have some friends whose parents own guns just for safety reasons. In my opinion some people keep guns around to make them feel safe. Anyone should have the right to do what makes him or her feel safe. I’m ok with people owning guns but the violence that comes along with guns and who can access them is what I think should be better controlled.
Diego: I think Merced has a lot of guns, most of which are illegal I suppose since the times I’ve seen or heard about guns weren’t necessarily from adults. A lot of teenagers here in Merced have access to guns. I have had friends who either own a gun or carry a gun around at all times for “protection.” I personally think that I shouldn’t have to fear what I haven’t done and so far I have no problems with anyone.
Kalvin: Gun culture in Merced is very bad. Bas as in too many guns. I know hunters have plenty of guns since my family goes hunting but almost everyday in the newspaper I see a high-speed chase or a gun crime or robbery. In every case the criminal has a gun or is trying to get rid of it.
When I was little, the cops shot at my grandma’s house because of my dad and my uncle. It was like a shoot out. Another time, when I was a baby, rival gang member shot at my house and a bullet got in contact with my dad and hit his eye, thank God he’s still living! I don’t care how but we need to stop gun violence. Doesn’t anyone know how to use words? If that doesn’t work, be a real man and don’t hide behind a machine.
Mia: My opinion on gun culture in Merced is that it is extreme and it is affecting our community. It’s very sad to hear of innocent lives being taken away and any life in general.
Austin: Fortunately, I haven’t encountered much of a gun culture here. I am unaware of the illegal gun ownership. However, I do experience the need to own a gun. I live in a neighborhood that turned into Section 8, which attracted several dangerous people. Then last year, Andrew Flores, a student from MHS was murdered in my neighborhood in a shooting. Now with dangers like this, it is necessary for people to get protection legally. This is one of the reasons I plan to own a gun legally when I come of age.
Jesus: Although I have not had any experience with guns in Merced, I think that guns are readily available in Merced. They are just like crack-cocaine, if you know who to talk to you can get them.
Lisbeth: I think in Merced, many people have guns. I mean, if marijuana is illegal and it is still around, what makes us think they don’t do the same with guns? Personally at home we don’t have guns, only a BB gun, I guess I could consider that.
Ana: Nowadays, the only guns I’m aware of are my uncles’. He gets them pretty easy so I would guess they’re easy to get. He also takes my 11-year-old cousin to the gun range with him. I don’t think she should be allowed there. Besides all that, I believe that here in Merced guns are heavy with all the gang violence. It’s so ridiculous it makes me mad that innocent people are being killed because of gangsters and their guns. It should really come to an end.
Lisa: The gun culture in Merced is terrible! It’s easy to get one because most of Merced owns them, legal or not! I constantly hear gunshots and at school classmates brag about them! I hope there is eventually some kind of gun regulations because this is out of control!
One day I was lying down at home when all of a sudden I heard what sounded like wooden planks falling onto each other. My mom and I investigated the house for a bit, then we heard sirens outside so we looked and [the police] were right outside our door! Apparently what we heard was a bullet shattering our address plaque. They weren’t shooting our house but someone standing in front and they missed, but what if they bullet when through or shot my cat!?