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  • Writer's pictureRhoda Akua Ameyaa

It’s Time to Bulldoze the Roots of Gun Violence

6-year-old Coby Daniel (Image via Fox News Updates. In this image, Daniel tells reporters what ensued between him and neighbor Le-Nguyen before the shooting happened).

Just a few weeks ago, an elderly neighbor shot a 6-year-old boy in Michigan. Before I go any further, let it be known that this article is not meant to restate facts that people have known for years that gun-based violence is a disease in the United States. What makes this particular incident stand out is not how it is just the same old reality, but the dynamics of age and race that come to play when I think of this occurrence. After reading the news of Ryan Le-Nguyen shooting Coby Daniel, a six-year-old boy, on June 6, 2021, the first question that came to my mind was what exactly a six-year-old could do to an older man to the extent that he takes out a gun and shoots him. But, as I already indicated, this incident is just one in a long-standing system of violence.

People have argued how violence affects the American people and have voiced concerns with non-racial and racially charged violence (read more about it here) and intracommunity violence. Still, a major concern I have, whenever I analyze violence in my academic papers and conversations with my friends, is what motivates the violent actions of people. Fox 2 News Detroit reported that Arnold Daniel, the father of Coby Daniel, said he(Coby Daniel) and some other kids left a bike allegedly in front of Le-Nguyen’s front yard and when Coby returned to grab his bike, an initial failed attempt of Le-Nguyen to hit him with a sledgehammer escalated into Le-Nguyen going inside his house, grabbing a gun and shooting Coby through his window.

29-year-old Le-Nguyen (via

While the judgment resides in the hands of the officials involved in this case and, to some extent, the public outcry, I strongly believe that a lot of the work that we as people must do to correct the ways guns have been used to harm people should start from paying attention to why actions such as that of Le-Nguyen have persisted throughout the years. This incident reminds us of the numerous unjustified shootings of people in minority communities and violence cases that have lingered in America for far too long. Of course, perpetrators of violence sometimes get some punishment and face public outrage, but amid the anger from the general public and the attempts of activists to get people and the government to pay attention to these issues, why are things getting progressively worse?

The way people think has always been a mystery to me, and to think that someone could shoot a 6-year-old boy for riding his bike through his yard or making noise in his yard with his friends is something I cannot wrap my head around. When I was researching to write this article, I came across some arguments that the government's lack of attention to mental health is a contributing factor to why gun violence is particularly high in the United States. I believe the government must do something about accessibility to mental health education and mental illness treatment. However, even when the government becomes 100% flawless, I think the problem of violence will still not automatically disappear if people do not take accountability for their thoughts, mental health, and their wellbeing.

Many people have built up too much anger inside of them and easily go wayward once every little thing gets on their nerves, which is why I believe just as much as pressuring the government to do better, we need to push people to do better as well. We cannot always use mental health to excuse unpardonable acts of violence if we are not ready to hold ourselves and other people accountable. In fact, studies have shown that people with mental illnesses mostly tend to hurt themselves (in some cases drive them to suicide) rather than inflict violence on others, which makes mental illness not a predictor of the ways people act violently toward others ( Mental Health America). This article gave me some useful statistical relevance to these issues. It argued that, of course, some cases of violence have perpetrators who have or have had one or more mental health conditions. Still, they only make up a minute aspect of the numerous violent occurrences in the USA (Ayer and Ramchand, 2021).

As people, I believe that we have to do so much better than bringing awareness to gun violence. Bringing awareness is important, but unfortunately, we tend to exclude ourselves from the people we are trying to educate. For example, our heavy reliance on social media to curb violence has led us to forgo the individual accountability we must engage in. But, we need not wait until another violent event occurs before we reconsider our actions and how we deal with our frustrations with life. We need to hold ourselves and the people in our lives accountable because no matter what the public or the government does, our mindset plays a huge role in navigating the things we go through in our lives.

While there is some comfort in knowing that there is a chance that perpetrators are going to be chastised by authorities, it would be more comforting if we stopped waking up to the news of people being gunned down day in day out. That said, it is crucial to assess ourselves daily and seek help if we need it. Our actions affect us, the community we live in, and the people we come across. I believe it is not enough to say that the government or the public will hold us accountable for our actions. We ought to reflect on our actions, beliefs, and how we approach situations and remind ourselves of how our actions can affect anybody at all.

We should not forget that minorities become highly at risk in these situations. Reading about Black, queer, women, and other minority traumas day in day out drains out a lot of positive energy from people who belong in such identities. We do not have to do better. We NEED to be better. Aside from the government putting policies in place to check gun violence, people can work on themselves so the combined efforts could yield greater results. One can take up a hobby that you can resort to when stressed, see medical health when needed, or check up.

We should strive to do much more than just trying so that our actions do not cost someone their life. We must do better so that a 6-year-old or anyone for that matter does not have to be the target of our bullets. Finally, we must do better to the point where we don’t hurt people because we are angry.

Works Cited/Referenced:

1. Edwards, A. (2021, June 11). Bond raised for man accused of shooting the 6-year-old black boy in the arm: Bin: Black information network. Retrieved June 16, 2021, from

2. Gun deaths, violence, and mental health. (n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2021, from

3. Is mental illness a risk factor for gun violence? (n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2021, from

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