We’re numb to school shootings: America’s deadly fetishization of gun culture


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The number of mass shooting deaths annually, a demonstration of how shooting rates have only become worse in recent years

In the wake of not just one, but several, mass shootings in the span of a week, the notion that current gun regulations are protective enough of the people continues to be proven tragically wrong.

In Uvalde, Texas, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary, wounding seven others. This was only ten days after the shooting in Buffalo, claiming ten lives. A week after, a man named Michael Louis murdered four more in Tulsa on the first of June.

The only thing more tragic than these events is the realization that they are not isolated. In 2022 alone, there have already been over 250 mass shootings alone, at least 27 of which are school shootings. That is more than one per day, given that June isn’t even over. Worse yet, mass shootings are defined as shootings which involve the death of four or more victims, not including the shooter. In 2020, the total number of gun murders was over 19,000, one of the most deadly years yet.

Needless to say, this all begs the question on the minds of many: Where do we draw the line when it comes to how much death we’ll tolerate? How many unjustifiable deaths will be suffered only to be seen as ‘unavoidable losses in the pursuit of protecting our liberties?’ Some believe that these constant killings cannot be stopped, and shouldn’t be if it means impeding on the second amendment.

The harsh reality is this: Not a single other developed, stable nation in the world has such a crisis. Nowhere else are guns so idolized in media and society as in America, with so many so desperate to cling to them despite the terrible cost. And nowhere else do such widespread and urgent crises go unchanged for so long by those in power.

All of this is to say that, at least by the metric of how much change is made, we as a people are numb to these incidents. Shootings in the U.S. are so frequent that they, as far as most go, aren’t even ‘worthy’ to make national headlines. Additionally, a large demographic of our population feels that the need to preserve the right to bear arms with next to no regulation is either completely unjust or ineffective.

It is known to those who research the topic that gun restrictions are effective in combating shootings. The number of shootings per capita reveals that nine out of ten highest states in this regard are red, or conservative, relative to voting patterns, the demographic most likely to oppose gun restrictions.

Regardless of this, there has been little pushing for national laws meant to crackdown on gun ownership, even for the Ar-15 style rifles that are commonly the type of weapons used in mass shootings. One bill was fortunately just approved by the House to do so, but is expected not to pass in the Senate. The lack of widespread support for meaningful gun restrictions that could save lives is concerning.

Ultimately, this is all just the revealing of a sad truth; our country is so numb to shootings. There is still, of course, hope that we can make the change necessary to secure a safer tomorrow through action, but this can only happen if all of our country opens their eyes to the issue, and concedes the need for some level of restraint on firearm accessibility. A better future is built on unity, compassion and action, not ‘whataboutisms’ and complacency.