This past Thursday, Nov. 14, we were hit with the all-too-familiar notification: there was another school shooting.
For some of us, we heard about the shooting from a text in a group chat. Some of us saw a post online. For others, that notification came in a frantic call from home. Regardless, it’s a notification that we’ve seen many times before, that we’ve grown accustomed to, that we’ve accepted as a part of life.
But this notification hit a bit closer. This shooting occurred just north of Chapman in Santa Clarita, in an area that many of us call home or know well.
It pained us to see the notification. It hurt us to read that lives were lost, that gun violence still rages in America, that despite countless efforts, the gun control debate hasn’t reached an effective conclusion.
Which leaves us asking: what do we say now? What can we say that hasn’t already been said?
Since Columbine in 1999 – the year many of us were born – our lives have been dominated by stories of lives lost to senseless gun violence, where the only solutions being offered are “thoughts and prayers.” The amount of times we’re called the “School-Shooting Generation” is horrific. But frankly, it’s not that far from the truth. If one were to walk through any room at Chapman, it wouldn’t be hard to find someone who has been affected by gun violence in one way or another.
And now, we’re left unsure of what to write.
How many of us heard about this shooting and cleared the notification without a second thought? Maybe we couldn’t bear to read the horrific stories or maybe we didn’t want to waste our anger all over again. In reality, it’s shocking that many of us hear news of a shooting and don’t feel the pain that we used to feel. After the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, after the Parkland shooting in 2018, we anxiously checked our phones for updates; we were glued to our televisions watching the trauma unfold onscreen. But now, it seems that we don’t care as much.
The reality is that we are desensitized to shootings. Shootings in 2019 don’t get the same attention, the same emotional heartbreak or the same coverage that they did 10 years ago. And that’s a problem.
There are still lives being lost, same as before. But now, because there seems to be an endless stream of shootings, the lives being ripped away feel diluted by the media, by the mass public, by our government. We take these lives – and our lives – for granted and after all these shootings, how can we not? But can we help it?
Hearing news of yet another gun shooting and simply saying “another one?” is proof that our society is desensitized to the issue. These shootings keep happening, they keep plaguing our nation and what’s starting to occur is the normalization of gun violence.
There’s no easy solution to this. There’s nothing to say or write that will solve this issue overnight. And right now, we feel powerless to address this problem because we feel like everything that needs to be said has already been said. We don’t want to sound like a broken record, but we don’t want these lives to go unremembered. We want to give them the coverage and the respect that they deserve.
It’s important to give attention to these issues. It’s important to not let these events desensitize us. But what do we say now? What do we do now? It’s hard to know when this just keeps happening.