Gun violence in America, or any violence for that matter, is an incredibly difficult topic to tackle.
While I have my own opinions about the causes and remedies of violence, it’s safe to say that no one has a definitive solution. It is a broad and complicated subject, filled with an outrageous amount of statistics and speculations.
Within the past few weeks, however, the amount of gun violence that has occurred has been astounding.
It seems as if there is a new shooting nearly every week in a different city across America.
But these killings are hardly producing any in-depth reporting, something that begs the question: Is this the type of life we have grown accustomed to in America?
Here are just three of several instances of gun violence in a matter of one week: On April 4, three police officers were brutally gunned down in Pittsburgh by a shooter wearing a bulletproof vest; on April 7, an Alabama man with a handgun killed his ex-wife, daughter, sister and nephew, taking his own life afterward; and on April 10, two students were shot in what is speculated to be a murder-suicide at a community college in Dearborn, Mich.
What is most disheartening is that it feels as if a strong majority of Americans, as a whole, have become desensitized to the amount of violence that occurs on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.
It’s almost as if we’ve stopped acknowledging any headlines related to mass violence because we have become so used to it occurring.
News stations that are on 24/7, videos on the Internet, breaking news updates on our cell phones, video games and movies with violence are just a few of the many things that have more than transformed the way our society views killing.
While it’s completely unreasonable to tell people to stop tuning into these various forms of media, it’s a shame that we don’t realize how much violence has become a part of our lives and, in some cases, the way we entertain ourselves.
According to an April 13 article by New York Times Op-Ed columnist Bob Herbert, almost 120,000 Americans have been killed in nonterror homicide since 9/11, making the death toll more than 25 times the number of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The violence that once shocked people generations ago barely makes us flinch today.
In one of my classes last week, we discussed the power a person has by owning a mobile device. In a matter of seconds, any citizen with a camera attached to their phone can capture any sort of disaster or tragedy and post it to a site like Twitter or some other massive news/social networking website. Within minutes, millions of people can be consuming it.
This wave of citizen journalism is changing the way Americans are connecting with the world and is, in turn, clearly influencing the ways in which our society connects and consumes major acts of violence.
Though it may be an incredibly cliche statement, the way Americans have become desensitized to gun violence over the past few decades is astounding.
Whether we feel outraged or not, these occurrences seem to be a common thread in American life.
The only sure-fire way for our society to change anything is to collectively regain our sensitivity. And if that means we have to be scared, then we must do so.
I don’t know if referring to American gun violence as an “epidemic” or a “crisis” would be fair terms.
After all, for something to really be a huge problem, people actually have to care.