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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Mass shootings becoming commonplace

I had a pretty shocking revelation yesterday when news broke of the Navy Yard shooting in Washington. I looked at the blaring headlines on my computer and I thought, “Oh great, another one.”
That’s right, mass shootings have become so common in this country that I’m almost used to seeing them come up in the headlines. It didn’t look any different than “McDonald’s trying out healthy line of wraps” or “Anthony Weiner ruins another campaign.” This is how you know you have an epidemic on your hands: when it seems almost run of the mill.
That’s not to say that this isn’t a horrible or senseless tragedy, because it certainly is. A dozen people lost their lives simply for being somewhere. They did nothing wrong; rather, they were being good service members, the people who deserve the most praise and respect out of any of us.
But with this new breed of criminal that’s come on the scene in the last decade and a half, the mass shooter, it doesn’t seem to matter how good a person you are. It’s not about you. It’s about one sicko that wants to make news on his way out, and you just happen to be around at the time.
That is the scariest part about mass shootings, the fact that you’ve done nothing wrong but you’re still a target. Not only did the victims never wrong the gunman (who will not be named in this editorial), they most likely never met him.
The sad truth is that we’ve entered into an era in this country where we can’t go out to the movies, to the mall, to work, or to school without having some terrible thoughts in the back of our mind. Innocent bystanders were never targeted like this in past generations, but now, we are becoming prey in these rampages, and there aren’t many practical things we can do to stop it. (No, putting an armed guard in every school is not practical for you NRA supporters).
As far as legislation is concerned, that’s looking as bleak as ever. The problem is that America is the gun country. In other developed nations, guns are not a part of everyday life as they are here. In Germany, police fired less than 100 bullets last year, and 60 of those shots were warning shots.
Meanwhile, in Times Square this week, police shot a man for pointing two fingers at them in a “gun shape.” Just over the weekend in Boston, nine people died from gunshot wounds, but gun control is an issue most politicians won’t touch with a 10-foot pole.
Republicans and Democrats tend not to agree on much, but they can both agree on guns. There needs to be a party that takes a more hardline stance on guns and pushes not just for small improvements like background checks and waiting periods, but tougher guidelines on who’s allowed to own a weapon. Personally, I think the legal age to own a gun should be 30, but I know at the present time that’s not realistic.
The area where we can make a real impact in preventing attacks like these is mental health. If you know someone who’s going through a rough patch, or someone who’s being tormented in school, reach out to them.
Give them some attention, because that’s the same attention that’s being sought out in horrible, extreme ways. As of right now, that’s the best way to stop these incidents.