Like most days, I spent my lunch on Thursday outside browsing some of my favorite websites. As I clicked my browser on I, like many, read early reports of yet another school shooting, this time in Oregon.
And then I casually moved on to another site.
And then I stopped.
My immediate thought was not again. Stories of mass shootings in schools have become so commonplace that we confuse them with natural disasters which cannot be avoided. Realizing my momentary complacency with something so horrific, I returned to the news bulletin. I let out a vocal goddammit.
That should have been my immediate response. Yes, not again. But also goddammit, not again.
How have we let this occur, again?
How is nothing more being done to prevent these events?
We should be more angry. Our blood should boil as more blood is spilt. Our tears must continue. Our prayers must continue. Yet this is not enough.
A mass shooter killing others is not a tornado or a hurricane – a force of nature that we are often helpless against. We can do something. It’s past time to do something. As a pacifist, I’ve long been a proponent for significant gun restriction and regulation. As an academic, I try to listen to arguments that favor gun rights for Americans. But the tally of deaths continue to rise with the current system. My tolerance for those arguments is waning.
While rights discuss whether or not we are entitled to gun access, it does not answer the question of whether there should be such easy access to guns. In conversations I have had with those supporting gun rights, the response I often get is that it is not guns that are killing others, but people who are killing other people. Yet at this juncture I cannot get past the thought that if someone is willing to admit that one individual has such hatred and malice in his or her heart toward others, then why make access to guns so easy? Note, I am not here stating that there should be a ban on firearms. I’m simply asserting that access should not be so easy and mass shootings should not be so commonplace.
If peace and the preservation of life is the ultimate goal, then we must act. We must place pressure on local officials to pass legislation to make these avoidable and unnecessary acts of violence cease. I need to better. We all need to do better.
Shootings such like the ones committed this past week should not be commonplace news. Like water found on Mars, mass shootings should be obscure reads.