Today, a shooting spree in Northern California’s Tehama County left at least 5 dead. The attack included at least seven shooting scenes, including an elementary school. So, um, why aren’t people talking about it?
Within the last two months, there have been several notable mass shootings in the U.S. There was Las Vegas, of course, which became the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. And, even more recently, there was Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 people were killed in a Baptist church. In comparison, this shooting doesn’t seem like much — and that right there is the problem.
As Americans, we are incredibly desensitized to violence. Face it, mass murders really don’t bother us the way we should, but most of us are afraid to admit that for fear of sounding insensitive. But the truth? I heard about the shooting and my first thought had nothing to do with fear or panic. Instead, all I could think was, “Oh, again.”
Oh, again. How fucked up is that? This is such a common problem in our society that most of us can’t even muster up the warranted amount of concern. Then again, it’s difficult to process emotionally when it’s something that not only keeps happening but is something that will without a doubt continue happening.
The fact of the matter is this: our government doesn’t really have an escape plan from this culture of violence it’s helped create. It’s too busy taking money from the NRA and schmoozing far-right voters to start a conversation that our country needs to have.
Because instead of talking about how we can prevent mass shootings, we talk about how incredibly “unAmerican” it is to even discuss gun control. People scream, “But the Second Amendment!!!” without really critically thinking about why that amendment exists. Without thinking about the fact that it was approved in 1791, when our society and our technology was completely different (after all, I don’t think our founding fathers were collecting AK-15s). Without considering the fact that we have actually changed some of our country’s amendments over time. Hey, remember when the 13th Amendment protected slavery? Of course, you don’t actually remember it, because that shit was changed before you were even born. As a society and a country, we’re meant to evolve.
The fact of the matter is that this is happening too often. People are afraid to live their lives because they’re afraid of being the next victims. After Las Vegas, my friend told me that she didn’t want to go to concerts anymore. After Sutherland Springs, churches began talking about having extra security measures. People are more afraid of losing their guns (or even having stricter laws) than they are afraid of losing someone they love to one. So instead of getting to the root of the problem, we mold our entire lives around the problem itself.
And so we continue to let this happen. Five people died, and guess what? It’s not shocking. If anything, it’s almost relieving that there weren’t more. By now, we’re used to waking up to the news of tragedy. It doesn’t seem to faze many people that the U.S. is one of the only Western countries where this is completely normal. And, like always, people will find blame in other places — mental illness, religion, political alignment — as if they aren’t all the same problems other countries across the world face, though with a much smaller casualty list.
And so I’m sure this tragedy will do absolutely nothing. Maybe people will talk about it for a day or two; maybe they won’t talk about it at all. People will send their thoughts and prayers and do nothing more. Our government will humor the idea of “change” without any real plan to go through with it. And by the time the next mass shooting happens, I’m sure most of us will have already forgotten all about this. After all, at least this time it wasn’t us.