OPINION: On gun violence and American apathy

By Jamie Beliveau, Opinions Editor

This week marks the eighth school shooting event in the first seven weeks of 2018. Gunshots pepper the first two months of the year, with an average of more than one shooting a week, and wailing politicians lament their thoughts and prayers through Twitter and dodge reporters demanding answers about gun control. Meanwhile, Florida parents will walk in a shocked haze through kitchens emptied of children, and Walmart will sell another couple dozen guns. It is hard to put into words the exact flurry of emotions I feel regarding this recent event, but anger and sadness are appropriate umbrella terms. The traditional statement most people retweet is “My heart goes out to the families of the victims,” and of course my heart does, as any good heart would, but when will the brain and the morals become involved in that statement, too? Eight shootings–specifically school shootings at that–in seven weeks is an unthinkably excessive amount. We forget that we, as the people, have power. We can think, and we can pray, and we can send our hearts out to every Parkland, every Sandy Hook, and every Virginia Tech, but we can also protest, rise up, demand answers from our politicians on both sides, and question the status quo. Too often, we allow these incidents to streak our social media feeds and we mourn for the brief moment it takes to skim the headlines or watch the news clips. Posts are made, political grievances are aired, and in a week our attention turns elsewhere. We are a culture desensitized, eager to point fingers on Twitter and slow to storm the streets, anger turned apathy in a matter of days. We as Americans must urge each other to do better and be better, encourage change, and refuse to forget. My heart will go out to the victims and their families, but after all the thoughts, prayers, and retweets, my fingers will dial the number of my state senator. I strongly encourage yours do too.