Have We Become Desensitized to Shootings?


Stephanie Racker   When news of the Las Vegas shooting broke, like most people, I was shocked. I couldn’t fathom that a single man possessed over 40 guns and the staggering number of lives lost during this event. But then I felt shocked over something else—my lack of surprise. Despite the horror of this event, I didn’t find myself in as much disbelief as I probably should’ve been considering the shooting’s scale. I remember my dad walking into the kitchen that morning, and the first thing I said to him—before even saying good morning—was, “Nothing says America like waking up in the morning to a mass shooting on the news.” The second the words left my mouth, a sense of fear coated my mind because I realized something that shook me to my core: I had become accustomed to mass shootings plaguing the news. It no longer felt as traumatic as it once did because after each shooting, I only wondered how long we could last before it happening again, not whether or not this would be the last one. Not only do I find myself not as alarmed as I should be about these events, but even my parents are used to seeing shootings in the news, which is chilling is because it shows just how easily acts of violence have integrated into 21st century life. Even generations that previously weren’t accustomed to constant awareness of mass tragedies, are now simply accepting them. For families like my own to no longer view shootings as abnormal perpetuates the already dangerous portion of American culture that accepts the notion that we are no longer capable of controlling our own internal American adversaries. If we can’t protect ourselves from the nightmare that has become American mass shooters, then how are we going to defeat the enemies that aren’t on our home turf? An increase in desensitization towards mass shootings also leads to a sense of distance between those impacted by shooting events and those sitting at the kitchen counter during breakfast, pouring milk into their cereal bowl as the news rolls clips of humans being relentless plundered by bullets. By no longer feeling enough fear and enough heartbreak, we are becoming less and less willing to actually take action to prevent these events. Our failure to act means our failure to save the lives lost in this sea of senseless violence. There’s only one truly effective way to stop the desensitization of mass shootings: stop the mass shootings themselves. We can’t control how individuals react to the steady outpour of violent events in America; we can try to eliminate these tragedies from happening altogether. While some may disagree with me, I firmly believe the only way to prevent mass shootings and thus desensitization is through implementing more gun control. I don’t want to live in fear that I might be at a concert or festival where violence is once again unleashed through the rapid firing of bullets, so if guns are no longer in irresponsible hands at the expense of responsible gun owners, in turn saving hundreds of innocent American lives each year, wouldn’t it be worth it? ]]>