The Indifference to Shootings in America

The number of mass shootings continue to rise, but the response to these tragic events seems to have diminished.

Courtesy of The Trace

The number of mass shootings continue to rise, but the response to these tragic events seems to have diminished.

Fiona Salisbury, Photojournalist

It cannot be denied that the recent school shooting at Oxford High School was tragic. However, when I first read about the school shooting on the news, my initial reaction was not one of shock. I found myself viewing this tragedy as just another shooting in the United States. This problem has become so prevalent to the point where mass shootings have become normalized to an extent where people are no longer surprised by them.

People seem to ignore the fact that the Oxford tragedy is only one out of hundreds. According to the New York Times, this year alone there have been 28 school shootings that have resulted in either injury or death. When it comes to public mass shootings, there have been over 650 so far this year. Despite mass shootings being relatively common in this country, little is done in response to these tragedies. 

Whenever mass shootings occur, the majority of the reaction takes place on a local scale. People in the area are able to empathize more with the tragedy, but when events like this make national headlines, there is often less of an emotional response from the public. In a way, these tragedies become nothing more than statistics. 

By the sheer frequency of mass shootings, people have learned to grow indifferent to these events. The response to mass shootings have gone from nationwide discussion on what can be done to prevent more tragedies from occurring to a nation that reads a headline in the news and forgets as soon as an event is no longer mentioned in the media. Victims, witnesses, and their loved ones never forget, but the rest of the nation does – at least, until a new shooting makes the headlines.

I still remember when students and teachers across the country had walkouts in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. At that point in time, it seemed as if the nation was trying to bring an end to the tragedies of mass shootings. Over time, however, the discussion has faded. Although discussions regarding the prevention of mass shootings have yet to die out, the number of shootings remains high while the public response is lacking.

According to Yahoo News, despite clear warning signs presented by the suspect of the Oxford High School shooting that the district was aware of, the student was still permitted to return to class even after his guidance counselor suggested that he receive counseling because his parents refused to take him home. The school was aware that there was a possibility of a mass shooting, but nothing was done to prevent this tragic event.

This is only one event, and according to Juliana Neemeh (11), “if more is done to prevent mass shootings, the deaths of so many people can be avoided.” No matter what course of action is taken to prevent future mass shootings from better gun control to addressing potential shooting risks better, it cannot be denied that something must be done in order to prevent the normalization of mass shootings.