Twitter has found the perfect analogy for gun control after Florida shooting
On Wednesday 14th February, a 19-year-old man killed at least 17 people and wounded a further 14 when he shot at students outside the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The teenager was apprehended and arrested shortly after the killing spree, and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
However, he was not charged with any firearms-related charges, as the semiautomatic weapon he used to slaughter more than a dozen pupils was purchased legally.
In light of this, many gun control activists have once again raised the issue of having such lax laws for firearm access and usage - but, as always, they have been brushed aside as "thoughts and prayers" resume their place as the only apparent way to deal with tragedies like this.
So, as a response, Twitter users have taken to the platform in order to make a comparison that's been staring us in the face for weeks now: tide pods.
The laundry detergent caused a stir recently after people began ingesting them in what became known as "the tide pod challenge". The exact number of casualties caused by this fad is not entirely clear, but what we do know is that 220 teenagers were exposed to toxic substances after interacting with the capsules in 2017 - and at least 37 cases were reported in just the first 17 days of this year.
As a result of this, many establishments began keeping the pods in locked cabinets, while Procter and Gamble - the company that owns Tide - released statements warning people not to eat the pods, and reiterated that they could be toxic if ingested. What's more, YouTube and Facebook began taking down videos that showed people doing the Tide Pod challenge.
Meanwhile, in the wake of countless shootings over the years in the states, gun laws have done little to prevent mass murders like the one we saw earlier this week. In Florida, for example, you don't need a permit or a license to buy a gun, nor do you have to register a firearm.
And it's not as if the Florida shooting was an isolated incident, either.
In 2016, 64 per cent of all homicides came as a result of gun violence, whereas only 4.5 per cent of the UK's homicide rates could be attributed to the same factor that year. What's more, since 1982, there have been more than 90 mass shootings in the USA. In the UK, there have only been three.
However, while mass shootings are usually the type of events that ignite gun control discussions, they are far from the main problem caused by gun violence. According to 2014 figures, only 14 out of 33,594 gun deaths occurred during mass shootings - but that number is already higher for 2018, and the Las Vegas shooting in 2017 single-handedly quadrupled that figure.
But even with such obvious signs that something should be done about gun laws in the states, legislators are still reluctant to change. Even President Donald Trump tried to deflect from the matter, blaming the shooter's actions on "mental" problems rather than the fact he was able to stroll into a store and purchase a gun without question.
"So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior," he wrote on Twitter. "Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!"
So come on, America, you've suffered enough now. Listen to the what the people of Twitter have to say about gun laws and Tide Pods, and realize that you have a major problem on your hands.