Deborah Augustin is in her first year at Western Michigan  University’s Master of Fine Arts program and was born and raised in Malaysia, which has very strict gun laws. Only people who hold a certain standing in the society, such as government officials, can legally own guns.

Because of the rarity of guns and the prestigious social standing one must possess in order to have one, Augustin thought guns were cool as a child. She would even badger her uncle, who was a public prosecutor, to show her his gun.

Now, at 28, she has a deep hatred for guns and would never dare touch one, and it began in 2003 when she moved to the U.S.

She interned at a local New York City news organization and became horrified by the overflow of gun violence among ordinary citizens.

“The worst part was my American co-workers’ reactions,” Augustin says. “They didn’t seem to be bothered by all these shootings. It was extreme and scary to me.”

Augustin says she would like to see the U.S implement similar laws to Malaysia because taking away guns from people, not giving them more, is the solution.

“I never understood the mentality of ‘we need more guns’ just because there was a mass shooting,” Augustin says. “People, for some reason, believe that they would’ve been safe during a random shooting if they had a gun, but I don’t believe the average person would know how to handle a random shooting. You have to be trained.”


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