In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting I wrote on the issue of gun control with high hopes that it would be the breaking point. I now write this in the wake of the Thousand Oaks Club shooting with nothing more than anger.
Roxane Gay said in her New York Times opinion piece that there have been “307 mass shootings in the 312 days of 2018.” In February, gun violence was a serious problem. Now it is an epidemic, and the worst part is that with each digit that number goes up, we grow more numb to the headlines and body counts. I am no exception. When I read the headline of the tragic club shooting, I unfortunately just saw it as another shooting that was bound to happen.
This mindset has fatal consequences. The more we view it as an event that is bound to happen, the more we are okay with it happening. We do not think about it anymore. We read, sigh and move on. We forget that 12 separate families must now deal with the unnecessary loss of someone they love. Forgetting that these body counts are real people. Granted, remembering this can cause an ache in one’s chest and one’s stomach to sink. It is haunting and downright horrifying, but we need to think about it because with every time we think “It won’t happen to me,” it happens to someone else, and that should matter just as much.
Now more than ever we need an onset of enormous empathy. Nobody regardless of race, gender or political party deserves to be killed in school, at the synagogue, at a country bar, at the hands of another senseless shooting. Without realizing that these are real humans with lives, dreams and goals, we are going to get nowhere in this debate.
Regardless of what side someone stands on when it comes to gun control, we all need to agree that the numbness to mass shootings must stop. We must feel every emotion that they bring. We must realize that this is not normal. We cannot continue to glaze over headlines. I understand it is difficult to truly think about what happened in that Thousand Oaks club, or any of the mass shootings for that matter, because we have the privilege to move on, but there are countless people who will never be able to forget it.