The Umpqua Community College attack is the 294th mass shooting in the US this year.
This morning, I turned on my TV to see that 13 people had been brutally murdered overnight. And I just continued drinking my coffee without feeling much of anything. At all.
My reaction to this latest US mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon might seem callous – but this wasn’t always the case.
I remember in Year 7 feeling physically sick when I heard about the Columbine High School massacre.
And with every horrifying mass shooting that followed, I had the same visceral reaction.
Since then, I’ve cried over the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, which killed 20 children and 6 adults.
I struggled to comprehend the terror of the victims of the Aurora cinema shooting, which took 12 lives and injured another 70.
And my blood ran cold when I saw the images of the reporter and cameraman who were shot live on air in August.
At some point, my feelings of shock and despair and horror following each senseless mass shooting turned to something else – anger. Burning anger. At American politicians and gun lobbyists and the countless ordinary people who keep insisting that “guns don’t kill people, people do.”
But now? All that horror and anger has finally become apathy.
Because this incident marks the 45th US school shooting THIS YEAR alone.
It’s the 142nd school shooting since Sandy Hook, and the 294th mass shooting for 2015.
And it has added 13 new names to the gun violence death toll that keeps climbing, and climbing, and climbing.
Those bleak numbers are why I feel numb instead of devastated by this attack. This is why it’s hard to feel much of anything for a country that steadfastly refuses to fix a problem that is so glaringly obvious to the rest of the world.
Every time a mass shooting happens, US politicians bring out the same old platitudes: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims.” “We’re praying for the families affected by this tragedy.”
Well, guess what? Thoughts and prayers do bugger all for a mother who has to bury her six-year-old who was shot dead at kindergarten. Thoughts and prayers don’t help kids who are left orphaned because politicians don’t have the guts to tighten gun laws for once and for all. Thoughts and prayers don’t do anything to move the countless unhinged nutjobs who stand by their right to bear arms – at any cost.
Around 10,000 Americans are killed per year by gun attacks, while virtually zero have been killed by terrorism since 9/11. And yet, more than a trillion dollars have been spent trying to prevent terrorist attacks in the US, while all the gun problem gets is “thoughts and prayers”.
Today, Obama himself touched on this apathy. He said: “Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response, here, at this podium, ends up being routine. The conversation in the aftermath of it. We’ve become…numb to this.” Obama is spot on, and that feeling of numbness is a tragedy in itself.
How many more kids and spouses and parents and friends have to be gunned down before people finally act?
Enough. Just enough.
What do you think of America’s gun laws?
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