Community, National News, News

International students reflect on America’s gun violence, its effect on experience in country

For international students, culture shock can mean a lot of things – a different language, unique social habits and an unfamiliar environment – but increasingly, part of coming to the United States is making sense of the reality of gun violence in this country.

Regina Sánchez-Jiménez, an exchange student from Spain, said her friends and family back home would joke about Americans’ “crazy” gun-friendly attitudes. She failed to realize that the violence extends far beyond periodic mass shootings that make international news until she moved to Florida and had a conversation with her aunt’s friend who lives in Orlando.

“She was talking about guns like it was so normal, like, ‘We need to have a gun just in case someone comes,'” she said. “But, in Spain, we don’t have guns. This is not the normal.”

United States citizens own more guns per 100 people than citizens of any other country, according to Congressional Research Service data.

When Manvi Seth, a junior mathematics and international studies major from India, was preparing to move to the United States, her parents first worried about her adapting to life in a new country as a 17-year-old. Then her parents became increasingly concerned about gun violence “because of all the incidents that happen to ordinary people on ordinary days,” she said.

DSC01834-2.jpg

Junior student, Manvi Seth, speaks about her parents initial concerns of sending her to study in the United States because of the increasing rate of gun violence in the country. Seth was raised in India and began studying at UM in 2015. Photo credit: Hunter Crenian

“You don’t want to imagine your daughter going to class and being shot,” Seth said.

Seth said she and many other international students are blind to the severity of the violence because they still revere the “American dream.”

Because she did not grow up in an environment where “having guns was considered a necessity,” Seth said she believes anyone who wants to buy a weapon should have to first undergo a rigorous background check.

“If you have to give someone the power to end a person’s life within a second, it should be given with a lot of reservation, and the current laws do not do that,” she said.

Gun control activists want to close the loophole that allows guns to be purchased on the secondary market without background checks, as well as stricter gun control legislation regarding the process of getting a gun and a ban on semi-automatic and automatic weapons.

On the other side, gun rights activists argue there are enough protections in place to keep weapons out of the wrong hands and want to preserve second amendment rights.

“There needs to be better laws,” said Venezuelan Alejandro Martinez-Scharffenorth, a senior majoring in finance. “I don’t see why people would need an assault rifle in their house.”

Martinez-Scharffenorth said he sees the validity of the second-amendment activists because, in Venezuela, people do not have weapons to protect themselves from the dictatorship that has overtaken the country. Even so, he said private citizens have no need to own automatic weapons.

Sánchez-Jiménez said her parents would have cautioned her against coming to the United States if they had known about the frequency of gun homicides, but she would have chosen to study at UM anyway.

“I am not scared,” she said. “I don’t have fear of anything.”

October 30, 2017

Reporters

Zach Grissom


2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “International students reflect on America’s gun violence, its effect on experience in country”

  1. Joe says:

    Franco took guns away from people in Spain, not exactly a strong example of gunless democracy today either. India had guns banned by the British colonialism and has enough secular violence today without a right to them. Venezuela has a dictatorship with no control over its own streets.
    I’m taking my chances here, where power is vested in the people and not bloated government special interests. Go ask Chicago about gun-control.

  2. Sho Rembo says:

    No such thing as “gun violence”, only human violence. Why don’t you folks talk with others about something that actually exists? Why aren’t you asking about unicorns? Same thing.

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It was midweek when Miami leading receiver Braxton Berrios wistfully spoke of his four years as a Hu ...

Eli Rosier will be back where he belongs Saturday, where he feels most at home. He will be at a foot ...

The 11th-ranked University of Miami men’s basketball team remained undefeated with a 90-59 victory o ...

They remain undefeated — but still untested. The 11th-ranked University of Miami men’s basketball te ...

It has inspired T-shirts and a Migos-style hype song. Soon, fans will have a beer brewed in honor of ...

The Finker-Frenkel Legacy Foundation gift will establish the Business Plan Competition Endowed Fund. ...

C. David Naylor, a UM Presidential Scholar and public health policy expert, provided insight into he ...

A cohort of five religious leaders from Miami, including a rabbi and imam from the University of Mia ...

Hollywood actress and star of the hit BET series Being Mary Jane gets real about gender, race and co ...

The annual development agreement meeting is a time for the city and University to share information ...

Here are three matchups to watch in Saturday's Senior Day game between the No. 3 Canes and Virg ...

The University of Miami volleyball team produced some late-match magic Friday night to outlast an in ...

Miami's seniors will play their final home game at Hard Rock Stadium when the Canes face Virgin ...

Six Hurricanes were in double figures as the Hurricanes improved to 3-0 on the season. ...

The University of Miami rowing team introduced the newest members of the Hurricanes rowing program o ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.