The numbness of the mass shooting epidemic


Jacob WaringOpinions and Features Editor

Another mass shooting. This time in Aurora, IL. The massacre took place at Henry Pratt Co., a manufacturing business. Five died. Five more names to add to the never-ending list of casualties in the epidemic of mass shootings in the U.S.

I wonder if I am wasting ink writing this piece, as at this point it feels futile because what can be said at this point? Politicians from both sides, regardless of their position on gun control, shout into the void leading to nothing changing. Empty prayers are given to the victims. The 24 hour news cycle goes through its typical paces until the next shooting happens.

Apparently, nothing is more American than mass shootings. Guns have become too entangled into the lore and mysticism of this country. I genuinely believe this country cares more about guns than their own citizens. It just means we have grown numb to mass shootings. I know I have.

I was 8 when the Columbine shooting occurred. The next 20 years would just become a constant stream of mayhem and death spread across movie theaters, places of worship, schools, military posts, concerts, basically everywhere. Columbine, VA Tech, Aurora’s shooting in 2012, Newtown, Charleston, San Bernardino, Orlando, Las Vegas and Parkland are the shootings I can think of off the top of my head. Without a doubt, I have forgotten many more over the years than I have remembered.

I do not know what is needed to produce change. The hard statistical numbers always seem to fall on deaf ears.

According to Vox, there has been 1,964 mass shootings since Sandy Hook. We are already two months into 2019 and according to Vox, 121 people have been killed and 68 wounded in 39 mass shootings. They have gathered the data about mass shootings from Gun Violence Archive.

Again, maybe everyone has grown numb to the raw, blood-soaked numbers. We as an American society, have gotten so used to the carnage that we do not even blink when we hear another mass shooting has occurred. That is beyond frightening to me.

The anecdotal stories from survivors who emerge from the aftermath forever scarred from the horrors of a mass shooting, simply does not move us to change.

I have heard from a friend that they knew one of the parents of Sandy Hook who lost a child. The child’s parents decided to have an open casket for their child because they wanted people to know the cost. I read an article about the Pulse shooting that took place back in 2016. One gruesome line stuck with me, the first responders who maintained the crime scene had to endure the ringing of cell phones from the victim’s friends and family calling to see if they are alive.

On this very campus we have a Sandy Hook memorial for the alumni who died during the shooting. How often do students, faculty and staff walk by it without a second thought? How many people either forgot it was there or simply did not realize the memorial exist. How many do not know or are numb to the stories behind those that it honors?

I am sure I could tell more or make a good assumption that anyone reading this article would be able to share the same sentiment.

You would think stories such as those would compel our legislators or the entirety of America to act. Yet to me it feels like we sit on our hands, follow the post-mass shooting script and continue with life until it is interrupted by the next mass shooting.

I grew up in Maine around guns. I recall times when everyone could drive around with a rifle in the backseat of their vehicle in preparation to hunt. I know people who have a hand gun for self-defense. I completely get that side of the argument and sympathize.

Such sympathy can only go so far because I am sick of the in action towards mass shootings. We know the solutions. We can work towards the solution and modify the laws until we hit that sweet spot to where everyone is at least satisfied or that we can reach a time where mass shootings become such a rarity that it is unheard of.

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