While studying for my upcoming midterms in the dining hall of Third North Residence Hall, my concentration was deterred by the event that transpired in Las Vegas only a few hours before. As I watched, the news read off the 58 casualties and over 400 injuries from what would culminate as the United States’ worst mass shooting. I was dumbfounded by how normal our current reality has become. Over the past decade or so, it has become an unfortunate expectation in the United States to be met by the news of yet another devastating, yet avoidable, tragedy. The onus, however, lies both in the hands of elected officials and their constituents. It is time this country learns from its many past mistakes and finally makes a substantial and effective change in how gun violence is both tended to and perceived.
In the days following, there has been an obvious outpouring of support towards those in Las Vegas who lost loved ones and were injured during the shooting. But as important as solidarity is during a time where its seems as though our grasp on normality is tenuous, there is more that needs to be done. Patrice Bendig from the Huffington Post summed it up well: “The troubling situation is that myself, and others in my generation have become a bit desensitized to the mass public casualties. Just the fact that most people can understand the phrase ‘typical public shooting’ and the differentiation between massacres like Sandy Hook is troubling.” It seems the American psyche has grown callous to the fact that mass shootings and staggering gun-related deaths are not what define a developed and well-rounded country. Overcoming this desensitization, however, suggests more than simply changing profile pictures to a Las Vegas filter or tweeting about how unfortunate it is that we live in such a horrific world. If tragedy continues to permeate our lives, it’s time we push complacency aside and begin to reform the way we react.
Moreover, when Donald Trump was elected as president, swarms of constituents flooded the streets rallying against his hateful rhetoric. Those who protested understood the unlikelihood of a Trump impeachment, yet they still took to the cities in the thousands, all so that their voices were heard. It feels, at times, the possibility for change is slim; constituents are left alone to combat lobbies that have the billion dollar support of the National Rifle Association and their voices slowly dissipate into the political abyss until all is forgotten. But despite this seemingly disheartening reality, we all have the ability to forge change. Whether that means organizing rallies or calling senators to vote ‘no’ against influential bills such the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, our options are there for the taking.
Finally, according to CNN, when asked about gun control, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, “We all need to take a step back.” By no measure should the politicalization of the Las Vegas shooting seek to insult those who have died at the hands of evil. Throughout the years we have followed that same path only to be haunted by our past mistakes. The crux is that it’s time we take a step forward and finally begin to dictate the trajectory of our country.
Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. Email Jacob Bass at [email protected]