How Settler Colonialism Influenced the Gun Debate

How Settler Colonialism Influenced the Gun Debate

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold made American history when they murdered 13 people at Columbine High School. With a devastating amalgam of toxic masculinity, white terrorism, and gun freedoms, the Columbine High School massacre sparked a nationwide debate on what to do about guns. Yet, as the empirical record of the progressive impulse normatively suggests, a failure to address the root causes at hand — white supremacy, patriarchy, and their intersections — meant that the issue of school shooters could never be solved within the logic of government. As we continue to count our losses in 2018 with an unprecedented trend of school shootings, the liberal analysis continues to prove its failure in contesting the overarching paradigm. Laws are not our problem. Rather, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are the latest byproducts of America’s infatuation with firearms. The source of this violent epidemic does not stem from private sale loopholes; not even the military-industrial complex. We need to look deeper, and explore the ways in which our country was founded on a mountain of bullets. On nearly every vessel that set sail for the Americas after Christopher Columbus’ initial voyage to Hispaniola, many sailors and conquerors carried a firearm alongside. Facing a New World meant new challenges for these colonizers; here, we saw the earliest iteration of gun violence as the means to safeguard the self from the other. To the grave, they took guns with them. As historians unearth and analyze shipwrecks from the […]

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