‘Dialogue’ series begins

%E2%80%98Dialogue%E2%80%99+series+begins

Ashley Dwy

DeKALB — The Student Government Association hosted a “Deliberative Dialogue” meeting about gun violence, where students discussed their opinions on gun control from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday in the Holmes Student Center OASIS.

There were three full tables of students and SGA members alike who all had respectful conversations with differing opinions on gun violence and gun control.

“This is a deliberative dialogue, which means it’s going to be a conducive and productive conversation about — kind of — a touchy subject,” SGA legislative director Ashley Hines said.

Finance major Josh Hernandez said the discussion was productive and, since his small group had similar opinions, it was nice learning that there were others who felt the same as him.

“I think the discussion was very effective because we were able to better express ourselves,” management major Xiomara Rivas said. “For me, personally, having a family deeply affected by gun violence — I don’t think my perspective on the subject will ever change.”

During these small discussions, education and psychology major Leboea Rankaki compared the differences in social culture between the country he is from, Lesotho, and America, and possible reasons gun violence is more prevalent in America than it is in other countries.

“I think social life in America is suppressed in a way that everybody is in their own ‘bubble,’” Rankaki said. “So, people suppress their anger, people suppress their frustrations, and, when the time comes for them to explode, then a person becomes a walking, ticking time bomb.”

Rankaki said that, in America, people avoid eye contact with strangers, and it’s deeply rooted in the culture to ignore strangers in public.

In Lesotho, however, it is very different.

Rankaki said he is free to express himself and his feelings to any stranger he comes across in South Africa, and they will listen to him. He can vent to whomever whenever he wants, and immediately feels better.

Hines agreed with Rankaki and said that mass shooters fit a profile in which all of them were socially isolated in some way.

Guns are deeply rooted in American culture, so it would be hard to take them away from the people, Rankaki said.

“Not basically snatching your guns, but let them be in the hands of the people who can handle a gun with care,” Rankaki said.

Kevin Schaeffer, operations management and informations systems major, agreed that even though guns should not be taken away entirely, there should be restrictions on what kinds of guns are sold.

“I think it is our Second Amendment right, but I think that’s where it comes down to the automatic rifles and military weapons — I don’t think the Founding Fathers expected us to have guns that could shoot 60 bullets in 60 seconds,” Schaeffer said. “So, when they were writing that law I don’t really understand our connection to that piece of paper. We live in a different world.”

Despite these students saying that guns are deeply rooted in American culture, there are still those like Hines, who believe a ban on guns is necessary if gun violence in America is to cease. Hines said a ban on guns is the only gun control measure she would take, because any other way is just prolonging the inevitable and putting more people in danger with every gun sale.

“We’re very standoffish with other people because we have put a heightened value to our possessions, to our property and to our lives,” Hines said. “We think our lives are more valuable with anyone else’s life, which is why people are okay saying ‘Yeah, I would kill someone if they broke into my house.’ I don’t think that’s a very good reason to kill someone, and the fact that it’s become so normalized is very alarming to me.”

Guns are deeply rooted in American culture, so it would be hard to take them away from the people, Rankaki said.

“Not basically snatching your guns, but let them be in the hands of the people who can handle a gun with care,” Rankaki said.

Kevin Schaeffer, operations management and informations systems major, agreed that even though guns should not be taken away entirely, there should be restrictions on what kinds of guns are sold.

“I think it is our Second Amendment right, but I think that’s where it comes down to the automatic rifles and military weapons — I don’t think the Founding Fathers expected us to have guns that could shoot 60 bullets in 60 seconds,” Schaeffer said. “So, when they were writing that law I don’t really understand our connection to that piece of paper. We live in a different world.”

Hines said a ban on guns is the only gun control measure she would take, because any other way is just prolonging the inevitable and putting more people in danger with every gun sale.

“We’re very standoffish with other people because we have put a heightened value to our possessions, to our property and to our lives,” Hines said. “We think our lives are more valuable than anyone else’s life, which is why people are okay saying ‘Yeah, I would kill someone if they broke into my house.’ I don’t think that’s a very good reason to kill someone, and the fact that it’s become so normalized is very alarming to me.”