School Shootings: We Have Become Numb to the Problem

A candlelight vigil was held for victims of the Roseburg, Oregon shooting on October 1, 2015.
A candlelight vigil was held for the victims of a shooting on October 1, 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon. Several individuals were killed (including the gunman) and injured when the gunman open fired on the campus. Image by Petr Kratochvil

I wanted to crawl under the covers and hide from the world yesterday. Partially because of the overcast skies and incessant rain, but partly because of what happened in Oregon.

A shooter walked onto the Umpqua Community College campus yesterday and told people to get on the floor. He then asked people to stand up and state their religion. Those that said they were Christian were told, “Well you’re about to meet Jesus in one second,” and started firing.

There have been 45 such incidents in the United States this year alone. When did this become normal? When did we become numb to the killing around us? When did we lose our will to correct the problem instead of living with the problem?

This massacre is the latest in a long series of mass shootings in the United States. We are not safe anywhere we go. Our children are not safe at school. Shopping malls, theaters, military bases, churches – when did our society become incapable of functioning without looking over your shoulder and waiting for the other shoe to drop?

President Obama stated Thursday night in an address from the White House what I’ve been thinking – our country has become numb to such horrors. It’s become the “norm” rather than the “abnormal” of our daily existence. Our schools and colleges have shooter drills on a regular basis, the same way that they do with fire drills.

No, I don’t have the answers. I don’t know how to make it stop. I don’t know what changes can be made that have not already been put into place that will halt the senseless killing of our children and citizens just wanting to spend time with their families at a movie, shopping at the mall, or attending a bible service at church.

President Obama has had to deliver his condolences to families who have lost loved ones 15 times since he began his term in office.

I will always keep those families and victims in my prayers. It’s not enough though. We need to do more. We need to look at stricter gun control, additional funding and treatment options for those that have mental health problems. We need to address the problem that anyone who truly wants to get a gun can do so – legally or illegally.

“This is something we should politicize,” Obama said. “… This is a political choice that we make, to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.”

We need to wake up America. Shake off the numbness. Start in your own community. Look at your children, your family members, your friends and ask them to join with you to make your community safer. If we put our heads together and talk about it instead of waiting till another tragedy strikes – we can begin to make a change. We have to take back our communities.

Today’s post was written while this was playing on our 12 o’clock news broadcast from WRIC-TV 8.

Multiple reports came in around 9:50 a.m. regarding an armed subject near the Monroe Park campus at VCU, standing on the 2nd Street overpass with what appeared to be a rifle. Authorities described the subject as a male, wearing a green shirt, jacket, square military-style cap with a black back pack and last seen walking east on West Grace Street away from the campus.

When I compare my childhood to the childhood that my own children are experiencing as they grow up, I literally want to just cry. I want to grab them, hop in the Dr. Who time machine, and transport all of us back in time to a simpler, safer, kinder America.

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  1. This is a horrible chapter in our country's history. I wish there was an easy answer to this national problem but I think lots of things need to change!

    • I agree with you Jeanna. I too wish there was an "easy fix" to this problem – unfortunately, that isn't the case. Several issues need to be addressed and there are going to be lobbyists that stand in the way, and there are pros and cons for every thing.

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