Walking into school on Monday, October 2nd I wasn’t aware that the night before more than 58 people had been shot and killed in cold blood. In fact, I didn’t learn and process this until third block when I happened to glance over at my neighbor’s computer screen and see him reading a New York Times article about it. I then watched in horror as various videos played through, videos of people running and screaming or crouched on the ground praying as gunshots rang out around them. It wasn’t until another student in the class said, “wow, another mass shooting” as casually as they would if they were commenting on the nice weather outside, did I start to feel sick. Sick because the term “mass shooting” had suddenly been made arbitrary. It had suddenly lost its significance, its power, its horror, and all 58 people who were killed were suddenly and permanently added to America’s long list of shooting victims and hence forgotten. I felt sick because I realized that we had, as a nation, become numb to our own gun violence.
Though we continue to empathize with those injured and with the families of victims, there is no doubt that people have stopped becoming surprised at the occurrence of a mass shooting. According to the Gun Violence Archive, in 2017 alone there have been 273 mass shootings thus far. That’s nearly one a day. And down from the 383 in 2016 and the 333 in 2015 (gunviolencearchive.org). Because of this frequency, we have desensitized ourselves to it. We are no longer alarmed because mass shootings have heartbreakingly become commonplace in our society.
How many times will this have to happen before we realize the value of human life?
If the shooting on October 2nd had not been the worst in American history, I doubt we would have heard much about it. It would have been a headline for a day or two and then we would move on to the next in this vicious cycle. We would soon forget.
I implore everyone to instill change in this society, and not forget.
Let us not become numb to the fact that people are shot everyday by other American citizens with the use of firearms hardly regulated by our government. Let us not ignore the numbers. Let us not blame minority groups. Let us not pass it off as “just another shooting.” Let us not joke about shootings or speak casually of them in conversation. Let us fight for the right to be safe and protected.
I implore everyone, let this be the last one.