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The Blue & Gray Press | March 24, 2019

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LAX shooting sheds light on the root of the problem

LAX shooting sheds light on the root of the problem


Last week, while sitting in a classroom before class started, the girl sitting next me was looking through a newspaper. In a monotone voice, she commented, “Oh there has been another shooting.”

A few classmates looked up at her, and one of them asked where.

The girl replied “LAX,” already flipping the page and moving onto another story. Everyone else went back to their own conversations.

This is just one example of how, as a society, we have become immune to gun violence. Connie E., a crisis and trauma counselor said, “The world has become very jaded to the ‘final effects’ of a bullet, as we are de-sensitized daily by fictional television, video games….and war.”

Gun violence is so intertwined in our daily lives that unless the violence directly affects us, we as a society just seem to brush it off.

Is this really the type of society that we want to live amongst?

I for one do not want to live in a world where someone can go about shooting innocent people while the rest of America barely bats an eye.

Jon Finnegon, a dean at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, writes in a report, “As of March 15, more than 2,600 people have died of gunshot wounds since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre on December 14, 2012.”

That is over 800 deaths a month, many of which no one outside of the victim’s family gave any thought to.

This is not to say that our country does not pull together in a tragedy; we saw just that last December in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.

People from all over the country mourned the loss of those children, but now, less than a year later, that shooting is a distant, forgotten memory to most.

“How immune are we becoming to these senseless mass shootings?” asked Eddie Weingart, founder of Project End Gun Violence at a vigil in September following the recent Navy Yard shooting.

Weingart’s question needs to be addressed. What are we as a country going to do about the way we perceive gun violence?

“Mass shootings are becoming almost as American as apple pie and baseball,” Weingart said to the crowd, “and that’s appalling.” This statement may be exaggerated, but it does hold some truth. In the last few years America witnessed mass shooting in movie theaters, malls, public schools, universities and military bases.

Are we going to continue down this trend to the point where mass shootings will not even be headline news but just another story mixed in with the 10 o’clock news?

I hope we are not heading down that path, and, if we are, we need to turn back now. We need to stop glorifying gun violence in our everyday lives and start seeing it for the horrible tragedy that it is.

There is no clear cut way on how to solve this, but many argue that we need to increase gun control laws or stop allowing children to play violent video games or watch violent movies.

However, neither of those alone will change how society views things.

As a country, we should make a societal shift. It is not going to happen overnight, in the next week or even the next year.

It will take time, but if we begin now to make a conscious effort to change, it can happen.

If we stop making gunmen famous and start focusing on the victims, a change can be made.