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Gun Violence is still here in California.

This past month, a shooting in Fresno took the lives of four and injured 6 others. As terrible as it is, shootings have become almost normal in the United States. Communities are left reeling from the pain of losing important members, and families are left trying to pick up the pieces of what bullets have irreparably shattered. The shooting in Fresno on November 17th was no different.

The shooting happened in the heart of the Hmong community in Fresno. An ethnic minority in Southeast Asia, the Hmong greatly aided the United States during the Vietnam War. In return, the United States took in the Hmong when they became refugees, escaping the deplorable conditions in Thai refugee camps. The Hmong sought safety in the United States. They saw the “American Dream” and seized it. Their community grew and prospered, and it finally seemed like they had settled down, found safety at last. On Sunday, November 17th, that safety left them. On Sunday, November 17, four Hmong men died.

The evening had started in a familiar American way; people gathered to unwind, share snacks, and watch football. It ended in another horribly familiar American way–a mass shooting. For the Hmong, the elders of whom rescued American pilots during the Vietnam War, the tragedy that overwhelmed the community following the shooting seemed second to only that of war.

Now, mass shootings have become a gruesome milestone in the development of minorities in the United States. Minorities are disproportionately killed as a result of gun violence. Deaths related to gun violence are not only a loss of life; they also represent a loss of a sense of safety, a loss in income, and a decline in overall mental health and wellbeing, all of which can be detrimental to the growth of a community. To afford minority communities the same chance to grow as any other American community, we must focus on eradicating gun violence in our nation. For the general public to finally be safe from the looming threat of gun violence, the CDC must declare gun violence a public health crisis. Congress must realize that our blood stains their hands, that more stringent legislation mandating universal background checks and banning high capacity magazines will put an end to the senseless slaughter of Americans at the hands of guns. We as a people must respect and honor the people of Fresno, of Las Vegas, of Parkland, and more by fighting for our right to feel safe in our own home.

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