Last year saw a total of 346 mass shootings in the U.S. alone, according to an ABC15 news article. And as of Aug. 26, this year has seen 234 mass shootings, and it’s not even September yet.
A ‘mass shooting’ is defined by the FBI as an incident at which four or more are shot and/or killed at the same general time and location, excluding the shooter. And these are mass shootings our country could have and should have prevented.
Of these 234 mass shootings that have taken place in the last seven-and-a-half months, only half–if that–were publicized by local and national media. We as U.S. citizens have become so accustomed to violence in our everyday lives, whether we encounter it ourselves, through various media, or entertainment, that we don’t even give it a second glance. Oh, you heard this morning a shooting happened recently? If it didn’t take place in a location near us or involve a loved one, we pay almost no mind and move on with our lives because this has become the usual routine. This is not to discredit the fact that mass shootings as well as any and all shootings are absolutely and devastatingly horrible, it is simply to recognize that we have become desensitized to their horrors.
At this time in our society, schools have become prepared and on edge about mass shooters—as they should, of course—and almost expect it to happen one day, essentially living in self-repressed fear. This is not the way we should have to continue our days, terrified that any one person around us—in any location!—could house a gun with intent of creating yet another mass shooting.
Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2018, Jacksonville, Florida, was the date and location of a Madden video game conference as well as the 234th U.S. mass shooting, leaving two dead and 11 injured. The suspected shooter—who legally purchased the handgun(s) used in Maryland beforehand—was found dead on-site from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This leads us to wonder not only why the shooter chose to take these deathly actions but also why we as a country and society do not work harder to ensure that these types of incidents do not happen. With this I mean stricter firearm regulations, required classes and permits, background checks, etc., so that not just anyone of any state of mind can buy a gun. While certain states do have various stricter regulations, the country as a whole needs to work together to heighten federal regulations and processes of getting a firearm so as to better prevent these shootings from occurring. While it is nearly impossible to assure that these shootings quit all together, it is possible and more than worth it to work harder toward prevention.
Mass shootings and violence as a whole are not far from each and every one of our doorsteps. Maybe you have not dealt with anything as serious as a mass shooting directly, but for those of us in Pittsburg it is still local and prominent. Just this Wednesday in Joplin, Missouri—only about 29 miles away from Pittsburg—a shooting occurred near multiple schools, resulting in lockdowns at three.
While we experience violence in even the most minimalistic of ways everyday, by cutting out and preventing violent acts, video games, etc. this can result in a less violence-desensitized society. These violent acts deserve more acknowledgement and action taken against them. Just about everyone remembers the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, but how have we become so desensitized since then to just move on from one shooting to another?
It’s not about banning guns, it’s about taking more action to ensure they are put in the right hands.