Mass Shootings Aren’t Going Away

Mass Shootings Arent Going Away

Almost immediately the new year was met with news of numerous mass shootings within the first weeks of January. Unfortunately, with no time in between shootings, news coverage exists for little time about one incident. The cycle of one tragedy after other leaves some fatigued and desensitized to gun violence.

A mass shooting is difficult to categorize, but it is commonly understood as the death of 4 or more people, not including the shooter. In 2021 the Gun Violence Archive recorded 692 mass shootings claiming 45,010 victims. In 2022 the number declined with a total of 647 shootings killing 44,287 people. This is almost indicative of a positive change, but the number of deaths per shooting increased by approximately 4 people. Already there have been 60 mass shootings in 2023, almost double the number of days in 2023. It is difficult to confirm exact numbers because of unreported incidents, but it remains true that there is a pressing issue in need of address.

The cause of mass shootings has been blamed on the poor mental health of Americans or the lax laws preventing the purchase of automatic weapons. The argument has become heavily politicized and polarizing, preventing swift and effective action. Many solutions to address the increasing violence have been suggested, but none appear to come to fruition. Those that argue mental health is the catalyst for a mass shooting suggest a greater police presence at schools, a common target of shooters, they also encourage the possession of more firearms citing personal protection. This suggestion has faced intense backlash because of the counterproductive nature of it. Should we fight fire with fire? Are teachers responsible for meeting a shooter with their own gun? On the other side of the coin those that believe loose gun control is to blame for shootings suggest tightening the reins on who we allow to purchase a weapon. Many polls suggest public support of measures including universal background checks, some reporting as great as 90% in favor. Like any political suggestion this has been countered. Gun control has been condemned as un-American and unconstitutional for restricting any access to firearms, referring to the 2nd Amendment as a source. All these points possess merit – some more than others – but the back and forth of politicians and dueling media outlets have distracted people from the seriousness of this problem.

No action has been taken at a productive level to confront the increasing gun violence. Many people do not or will not take gun violence seriously until they are a victim of it. I believe that mass gun violence has been established as a uniquely American problem – and it will never wholly subside. This picture of the US in the 21st century is quite bleak; which has caused a large mass of the US to turn a blind eye or find some comfort that their inaction is no match for the inevitability of more deaths. At the end of the day, mass shooting and gun violence are not going to disappear, the only path that remains is to care about them. Do not let yourself become desensitized, instead let yourself become angry. There will never be results until some semblance of action is taken by our legislators.