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It Is a Heroic Act — To Stand Up to Gun Violence

December 16, 2018

We live in a dangerous world. Every choice we make, every person we interact with, and every one of our actions impacts the world around us. In a society where a multitude of people experience trauma, especially gun violence, it is the responsibility of good people to not only recognize problems and injustice, but to also respond and create some kind of change. It is how we choose to both act and react that defines our character.

An impressive trauma surgeon named Joseph Sakran is the epitome of a good person. He was personally affected by gun violence, as he was shot in the neck at the early age of seventeen. Sakran himself was saved from falling victim to someone else’s hunger for violence. As a result, he decided to dedicate his life’s work to helping other people. Sakran’s personal tragedy manifested into his career as a trauma surgeon and ultimately, his drive to heal people.

The role models in our lives can often shape how we perceive our experiences. After Sakran was injured, his father explained that “either you can look at your scars…and feel sorry for yourself, or you can take this second opportunity and really make a difference for other people.” These exact words motivated Sakran to be active in responding to his life-altering experience.

Joseph Sakran took further action by speaking out in response to the NRA. The first line of a bold, unapologetic NRA tweet read “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane,” which created immediate backlash (NPR, November 28, 2018). Sakran quickly defended doctors, families, and direct victims of gun violence, as he himself has taken on an arduous task: to relive trauma each day by helping others through it.

It is not enough for people like Sakran to just work through personal trauma and attempt to move on. Many people are motivated to share these hardships and change the conversation around controversial topics, especially gun violence. The NRA should not patronize doctors for both exercising their freedom of speech as well as standing up for the people they have helped. Some of these doctors either know people who have been affected by gun violence or have even survived it themselves.

In my eyes, Sakran is a hero, even if he is not publicly recognized as such. The very definition of a hero refers to a noble person who has admirable qualities. Joseph Sakran has not only personally been impacted by gun violence, but he is also voicing his opinions on the importance of gun reform. He has gone straight to the source, the NRA, without being held back by fear.

Gun violence is not something that can be ignored. As devastating as our reality is, gun violence has become a part of our definition of “normal.” Even though the use of guns is a common occurrence, it is in no way acceptable.

With gun violence being just one hardship many people have to face, stress and fear are a common occurrence. It is imperative that we choose to respond to injustice and work toward creating a safer place, a world that we WANT to live in. There is no way of knowing what will happen in the future, but our dangerous reality will not improve if we remain complacent.

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