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Viewpoint: The Danger of Becoming Numb

There have already been nearly a dozen mass shootings in the first month of 2018. Is America becoming numb to the tragedies?

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Just days ago, 16 students were shot in their high school. Two fifteen year olds lost their lives in this incident at the hands of a classmate of the same age. This scene is all too familiar in the United States. But the reaction to this particular event has seemed far too quiet.

In comparison to the recent horrific events in Las Vegas that left 59 people dead and over 500 injured, this shooting was a blip on the radar. But there is a real danger that comes with comparing tragedies. It’s not normal to brush off the fact that there have been almost a dozen mass shootings in the first month of 2018 alone. Though it has become common for blood to be shed in school hallways, movie theaters and concerts, it will never be normal. It’s up to the people to prove to political leaders that enough is enough because the shock and horror of the seemingly constant mass shootings and violence.

The exact definition of what qualifies as a mass shooting varies. Some definitions say that four people must be shot in order for it to classify as an official mass shooting. But the fact remains that technicalities should not dictate our reaction to tragedies. It’s true that the modern news cycle is faster than ever, but it’s important to never lose a sense of humanity when it comes to the world around us. It may seem that these shootings are normal, but the world is damaged by indifference towards this horrendous violence.

Until the powerful National Rifle Association is disbanded, politicians will profit off this mass violence. This is why so many elected officials don’t care. Their campaign pockets are lined with money from a group that perpetuates death for their own greedy gain.

It would be unproductive to argue in favor of banning all guns. It’s clear the public opinion is heavily against such a law and nothing will change overnight. But something still must be done to stop the blood. The grieving families deserve to have their pain supported rather than brushed aside by the next news story of the week.

It won’t be simple to conquer gun violence. But the 2018 midterms will be a start. Candidates beholden to the NRA have no place in government. It has become more than clear that the organization seeks to manipulate those in power to further their own cause and enable further acts of violence. It may take years to get concrete, sensible legislation passed, but electing officials who know right from wrong is incredibly important. Without this, the two sides of the argument will go back and forth just as they have since Columbine, Sandy Hook, Orlando, Las Vegas and all of the other tragic shootings.

But on a more human level, society can react to these incidents with compassion rather than indifference. This isn’t something to be shrugged off as common because being exposed to constant death and violence is not healthy. Someday there will come a time when this horrific violence is just a memory, but it is up to us to create the world in which this is no longer common.

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Lauren Grimaldi is a senior political science student at Roosevelt University in Chicago. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the Roosevelt Torch, the school's student run newspaper. When she graduates in May, she hopes to find work in policy reform, political campaigns, or writing. Follow her on Twitter @laurengrimaldi_ to learn more about her obsession with politics and baseball.

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