It happened again.
We saw it at Pulse. We saw it at “The Dark Knight Rises.” We saw it in Paris. We saw it at Sandy Hook, and we are tired. We are tired of seeing the routine headlines and the predictable anti-gun rhetoric played on repeat each time we are confronted with these atrocities.
The nation woke up to another mass shooting on Oct. 2. This time in Las Vegas, during the Route 91 Harvest Festival where over 22,000 people filled the outdoor arena.
The attack comes only 16 months after the Florida Pulse club shooting, the benchmark for the nation’s deadliest mass shooting now has a new record. At least 59 are confirmed dead, and more than 500 were injured.
There are multiple ways we can respond in the wake of this attack. Yes, the way government facilitates the purchase and use of guns in the country is a conversation pertinent to these attacks. Yes, the implications of mental health and the culture around it is an important conversation. However, neither argument should precede the empathy and consolation needed for the families of the victims.
Furthermore, whether it be gun control, whether it be mental health, or a force that we are not yet aware of – no proposed cause will matter if it is absorbed by the numbness that has excused events of the same nature since Sandy Hook in 2012. Shootings prior to the prevalence of social media were likely not swept away at the same speed as they are today.
How long will we report the news, express our outrage, and distract ourselves with endless arguments until it happens again? The victims do not benefit from the president informing us that this is an, “act of pure evil”. A politician’s thread of proof for or against gun control does not save any lives.
We attempt to honor the deaths of the victims of these shootings by expressing our outrage, but a greater honor would be setting aside our political loyalties long enough to diagnose and correct the culture that has endangered them in the first place. We should not be docile as politics begin to eclipse our humanity. Will we be motivated by partisanship or empathy?
Mass shootings have become so normalized in our society that they can happen in the places where we go to escape the cruelties of the world, and we will still dust our hands of the issue by labeling the shooter as an outlier. However, each time we allow a mass shooting to happen without responding to proper corrections, we define their deaths as nothing and we effectively fail them.
The Las Vegas shooting has nothing and everything to do with the second amendment. We have seen our country fall to its knees too many times to our own gun barrels. It is evident that this is a problem, but in the midst of debating who is wrong and who is right, we seemed to have lost touch with what really matters — the victims at hand. The mass shootings in our country are much bigger than any of us, but before we jump into our political debates, we need to lend helping hands to our neighbors affected by this tragedy.
Rather than shout over the ambulance sirens, and step over their injured bodies to confront our opponents. We need to collect blood donations and understand the problem before we can fix anything. This is not the time to shy away from each other, but instead unite in solidarity.
Our initial reaction to these mass shootings should not be to argue anymore, because until we reject the numbness and definitively deem these events as unacceptable in our country, these arguments will be a place holder for useful change.
When do we as a country say enough is enough? We can tweet, we can pray, it is only until we act with the same vigor with which we toss blame that we can affect real change and uproot the forces that fuel these hateful attacks.