A Violent Start to 2017

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Mackenzie Guynn  2016 was a particularly violent year. According to AJ Willingham of CNN, there were “136 mass shootings in the first 164 days of 2016” alone. Following those first 164 days, there have been countless other incidents around the world involving a gunman and innocent civilians. Going into 2017, the hope for a more peaceful world was on my mind. This goal, however, was shot down by the sixth day of the New Year. On Friday, January 6, 2017, a US Veteran opened fire at the Fort Lauderdale airport. He killed five people and seriously wounded eight others. The tens of people in the baggage claim area were forced to run and hide. After reading that, you might think that the Fort Lauderdale shooting is just like the countless other acts of mass violence that we have paid witness to over the past year. It’s something a lot of us can’t relate to. Stories of mass shootings have been displayed on the front pages of the news, before being quickly dismissed in place of more appealing stories. But while Fort Lauderdale may seem like just another random act of violence, it’s connection to the modern-day technology craze is unique. One civilian was fleeing the scene when a bullet hit his computer, which was stowed in his backpack. When I first heard about the Fort Lauderdale tragedy, I was saddened by yet another story of an onslaught of violence, worried about if or when it might directly involve me. After learning about the lucky placement of a laptop, my interest level was piqued. All of a sudden, this wasn’t a shooting about people I didn’t know and never will, it was something that I could relate to. In this new age of technology, the feeling of not being able to live without your laptop or your phone is common, especially among teenagers. You sleep with it next to you, you constantly check your texts or some form of social media, and you may even grieve a little when it dies. But I don’t think any of us have ever actually owed our lives to technology. I certainly have not. Although having a backpack in the right position at the right time saved one person, there were 13 people who were not as lucky. They did not have protection from the array of bullets. Maybe our hope for a peaceful 2017 won’t be achieved, but maybe this incident will be create a new mindset towards violence. The possibilities for technological protection are endless.]]>