Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sadly, I'm Desensitized


I was in 10th grade when the Columbine High School shooting happened in 1999. It was a scary thought that the place I go to for 8 hours a day could be so dangerous. Teachers at my school did their best to ease student’s minds by giving us plenty of opportunities to express our feelings and fears about what happened at Columbine.

While the Columbine shooting did make me nervous, that feeling quickly went away because at the time school shootings weren't as common as they are now. And because I always felt safe at my school, the fear of a mass shooting was out of sight and out of mind.


Fast forward to a few years ago; shooting up a school has become the go-to answer to solving a student’s problem. As these cases become more common, I am so thankful I’m not in school anymore, I’d be a nervous wreck.

That thought, along with sorrow, is what would fill my mind any time I heard the news of a school shooting. But after seeing the news coverage of the latest shooting near Portland, OR the other day, I realized something. I am now unfazed and unresponsive to these events. I still do feel sorrow for those who lose their lives but I am no longer shocked by the actual event, and that bothers me.

I think the lack of reaction I experience when this happens is due to me constantly seeing it. When I hear the words school shooting I have specific images that are embedded in my mind: students walking out of their school with their hands up, images of parents crying, and a picture of the shooter. How does one NOT become desensitized when these mass shootings happen every few weeks? 

Tuesday's (6/10/14) incident was the 74th shooting in a school in the United States since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

In noticing my own response, I have also noticed how the news media now reports these shootings. In the past these stories would be covered all day, for several days. Now the coverage is limited. It's almost as if the media themselves have gotten to a point where they don’t find it necessary to spend so much time reporting the details; as we all pretty much know the situation... which results in the shooter having some kind of mental health issue.

Sure we can focus on who is to blame: the shooters, their parents, our country’s mental health care system, gun laws, and countless other people and factors. But how we stop this from happening again should be the real focus.

People (students) resorting to killing themselves and others as a means to solving their problems is ridiculous and cowardly behavior. The option of turning to a gun is far too easy and no one is even worried about the consequences. It's out of control and there seems to be nothing anyone can do to stop it.




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