Editorial: Have we become numb?

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We’re becoming numb to mass shootings. Day by day, they continue to happen. Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida. A Kentucky school on Jan. 28.  According to Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group, more than 18 guns have been fired on school property so far this year.

It’s only February.

People have started to say, “Well that one was only one person,” or, “There weren’t as many deaths as Las Vegas.” Let that sit for a moment.

Is losing just one life to a shooter ever okay? Is it ever justifiable?

We’re also witnessing a strange era of news organizations covering mass shootings in a less than moral way. It’s time to stop mapping the way a shooter committed his crime.

It’s time to stop ranking what has been “worse” or the “least number of casualties.”

Instead of focusing on who has died, we focus on the shooter and ask questions like, “Why  did he do this, how did he do this?”

While these are fair questions, why do we choose not to focus on the lives lost? Each individual who has died in these tragedies had a story. Why don’t we see more of these stories?

Back in November 2017, Frank Ochberg said in an interview to CBS, “What happens to a culture when more than 50 dead and more than 500 injured is suddenly yesterday’s news? I think we lose something vital. Emotion often drives thought and too much exposure to the same kind of violence reduces that emotional response.”

Ochberg certainly believes we’re becoming numb.

Reporting on it, reacting to it has become a routine. We’ve started to react more automatically to these events.

Perhaps it isn’t because we’ve started to not care. We care. However, when something starts occurring everyday, we stop considering it unordinary and think it is suddenly normal.

However, we have to force ourselves to react. A lack of reaction is starting to become inaction. We don’t follow up with the news stories. We rule out the possibility that we can help.

The longer we’re exposed to something without doing anything about it, we become complacent. If you believe in gun control, continue to write Congress that letter urging legislation on gun control every time it happens.

I’m sure many of us can still remember the day we heard about the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. Moods changed in businesses. Media outlets reported the event in shock. Former President Barack Obama has said multiple times that day was the worst of his presidency.

Individuals discussed Sandy Hook for weeks. News outlets facilitated an ongoing conversation regarding gun control and the possibility that an increase in gun control could lessen shootings.

We don’t do this anymore. We might exchange a few words regarding the tragedy. We know it’s happening. But are we ever shocked? Sadly, no one seems to know what to do next.

Don’t become numb. Force people to keep talking about it. Our world won’t be cured of these tragedies until we start doing something about it and stop mentioning it once and moving forward. Our apathy does nothing for the individuals who we have lost.

For questions/comments about this article, email editor@thewhitonline.com or tweet @TheWhitOnline.

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