As the end of COVID-19 seems near, long unattended issues are dominating the newscycle. Seven mass shootings have taken place in the last seven days, leaving 20 people dead – one of whom was Rikki Olds, a college student in Boulder, Colorado.
It’s jarring to see these shootings in the news again after having gone so long without them. The more they continue to happen, the chance is higher that we’ll become as desensitized as we were before the pandemic.
The grim reality is that this is to be expected; we expect to see another shooting; we expect a pointless, frustrating debate in Congress; and we expect to see more shootings when no laws are passed.
Despite the frequency of these shootings before the pandemic, progress never came, and as time passes, it seems like progress still won’t come.
While gun reform seems to be the more straightforward path to saving lives, the opponents of these laws focus on furthering their discriminatory agenda. Conservative lawmakers in several states, including Michigan, are focusing on voter reform in a transparent attempt to limit access, requiring stricter ID checks and shortening the drop-off times for ballot boxes.
These politicians leverage misdirection and outrage to maintain their power. They pass the buck and leave the country without a solution to mass shootings, and the cycle continues at the expense of innocent people.
The majority of United States citizens are in favor of stricter gun laws. Americans being killed isn’t a partisan issue, but when it comes to mass shootings and white supremacist or misogynistic domestic terrorism, it’s treated like one. While everyone else pushes for common sense gun control, conservatives and the NRA push narratives like the one about the AR-15 being a hunting rifle as opposed to a weapon of war.
Change can begin on a social and individual level if we can collectively begin to fight the “didn’t happen to me so I don’t pay attention” ideology and actively work to dismantle the desensitization that media coverage of these endless shootings has brought.
What we see after each tragedy are moments of silence and outreach to families, but we don’t see enough compassion to actually make significant changes. Politicians are quick to mourn with the families of those slain in mass shootings, but don’t take steps to ensure that other families are spared the same burden.
We shouldn’t have to write this editorial. We shouldn’t have to consider these issues every time the list of gun violence victims grows longer.