Recognizing Mass Inaction
November 15, 2018
I open my Twitter and I am greeted singularly by a headline that I am too familiar with: “No Way to Prevent This’- Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.” This is so often posted by political satire site The Onion that I get a pit in my stomach whenever I see it in my timeline. I know what it means. I know why it is being shared and retweeted by other users. I know what I will see when I am unlucky enough to look at the news. It means there was another mass shooting; and it means we’re ten minutes from moving on to the next.
The growing accustomation to attacks, terrorism, and violent prejudice has twisted the American conscience in uncomfortable directions.
This fatigue has subconsciously mangled my perception of life. I am almost certain I do not speak for myself when I say that a part of me is slightly relieved when only a “token handful” of people are killed in a tragedy. This is not to say it is not a good thing if the number of victims is low and many were spared, but rather that there is a growing trend of seeing the victims as less significant.
It is depressing that America is a land where the four people who died in a shooting at a Waffle House earlier this year are all but forgotten in favor of even more horrifying events. Four people being shot down for existing in the wrong place at the wrong time is no less tragic than fifty civilians at a concert, or one person at their home.
All lives should be remembered and protested for because violence is not okay. All lives should be treated with seriousness and solemnity because murder is not okay. All lives matter, no matter how many of their fellow humans die with them.
This is applicable to more than just mass shootings and terror attacks. The growing trend of the glorification of gang-related violence has lead to societal numbness to the inner-city killings that happen in the nation. Detroit has a horrifying murder rate of 59.3 murders per 100,000, which lead to about 300 homicides in 2017. News outlets can very hardly sell the story of seemingly-irreparable and constant murder in our inner cities, as violence in mass is more scary than it is psychologically depressing. As I have said, this does not diminish those who die in mass; it just means that about 300 Detroit citizens died without a story to be heard.
The debate on gun control is not an issue for when it is too late to impact the latest group of victims, nor is it ever “too soon” to discuss. The debate should be a constantly prevalent issue because crime is a constantly prevalent issue. Murder is always happening, which should not be the deterrence from solving its problem, nor should it be reason to take it with levity.
I do not wish to be in a reality where America consciously overlooks the tragic for the fantastic; the voiceless for the screaming; the victim for the martyr. I do not like this reality.
Between what I can only assume are the motivators of profit, laziness, and fear-mongering, America cannot breathe. We are in a stranglehold at gunpoint. We have been placed in a vile, cruel system that we routinely see the effects of, yet do nothing about. This is not a call to ban automatic weapons, or protesting; but rather, this is a reminder of the most evident truth in America: change comes from action.
I do not want America to take more cycles of prayers and bullets in order to receive this message; because I want America to realize action stops this cycle.
There is something wrong in America; and it is too prevalent and substantial to ignore. I will not get used to greeting horror. I will not get used to inaction.