On Sunday morning, our nation awoke to an all-too-familiar headline. 26 people have died and 20 others were injured after a gunman opened fire in a Texas church. While calling his father and driving away from the police, the gunman shot and killed himself.
Many of us may feel almost desensitized to the shooting. Looking into the details may seem like a bad dream you keep having.
Writing on the need for stricter gun control has been done time and time again from national newspapers to here at The Carrier. Hearing about the death toll, weapons used in the attack, the life of the shooter and the lives of the victims may seem like Déjà vu. How can this be something we are no longer completely shocked by? How has this become normal?
As a nation, we shouldn’t become complacent towards these acts of violence. Although we must endure the news coverage, more victim remembrances and the harsh realities of the hate in our world, we should never become numb to it. This complacency is dangerous to our society, shielding us from facing the truth as well as any possible solution.
Some people have said that mass shootings are “the price we pay for freedom.” This cannot be the truth. We cannot allow it to be. We should expect more from our neighbors, from our government, from our laws. This should not be the price, and we certainly should not be okay with it.
In the hours following the shooting, Trump said that “this isn’t a guns situation. This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event.” The problem with this statement is that while the shooter may have suffered from a mental illness, it is not an excuse to fall back on. Saying that this is an issue of mental illness makes the population of mentally ill people into scape goats for the rest of America. Saying this is an issue of mental illness allows people to write it off as yet another unsolvable problem in our society and not face the reality of the situation.
The narrative of gun violence in America continues to play out because we have yet to unite as a country to actively search out a solution. Casting the blame from one group of people in our country to the next does nothing but prolong a time without peace.
We have to care about the implications of gun violence enough for something to be done about it. We cannot wait until we are directly affected to care enough to stand up and take action. This is not something which can be written off as our price for freedom, and certainly is not something we can continue to blame on minority groups in America.
There will be more mass shootings. There will be more headlines and more funerals. But, no matter how long it takes to find the solution, we can never be okay with this.