Shooting down shooting debates

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Mass murders, terrorist threats and school shootings have become America’s favorite political conversation-starters, it seems.

It’s not that these conversations haven’t resulted in action; this backdrop of violence, death and loss brings attention to national and local security, as well as gun control (and the lack thereof). This attention is precisely what inspires countless cries for reform in many areas related to public safety. All the more depressing, then, that little positive change has come of it.

Politicizing the near-unspeakably macabre actions of heartless monsters has turned us into monsters ourselves; gun control activists continue to partake in screaming contests with firearm enthusiasts while everyone blames the Sandy Hook shootings a year ago, for example, on some facet of society. God forbid we hold murderers accountable for their actions!

In the midst of the demonizing and finger-pointing of the two sides of the gun debate is an unpleasant truth; so many of us are apathetic to the non-political implications of these shootings. We don’t want to think about the lives that were lost, and rarely do we stop to scorn shooters any more than we do our ideological opposition. Instead we accept this as a part of everyday life, and pretend that changing gun laws or fixing the mental health system or spamming the twitter feeds of our politicians will make these problems go away.

What’s worse than the apathy is the ignorance that comes with it. For every act of violence reported, there are several similarly severe acts that go unnoticed by our society. It has taken deadly school shootings to get people to consider the safety of our school buildings or the security of our students. It took a September killing in Washington Navy Yard for civilians to lend an ear to military life. My story on the Sparks Middle School shooting a few months ago was meant to inform readers of the disturbing events that transpired, not encourage a media investigation that actually managed to make others question media ethics.

You heard it here first: The answer to braving these acts of terror is not to start a political debate, drastically change gun laws or blame society for the crimes of an individual. Instead we must stand together in the face of this brutality, scorn the murderers and offer our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Parkway School District.

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