Know the Signs.
On December 14, 2012, the United States and then the rest of the world watched in horror as the news broke of yet another school shooting, only this time, it took place at a middle school, and the bulk of victims were six and seven years old.
Sadly, over the past 20 years, school shootings and mass shootings had become commonplace in American news. And these are only the stories with enough victims to make the story—disturbingly—worthwhile for national headlines. In 2016 alone, there have been hundreds of mass shootings that you probably didn’t even hear about unless you lived close to the site or knew somebody involved.
For most people, the immediate reaction to news of a mass or school shooting is sadness and anger. Why the senseless killing? Could we have stopped it? For others, it’s pure disgust. How did it get to this? What about all those lives cut short? Yet for some, it’s indifference. It’s happened before and it’ll happen again. Our gun culture so divides us as a country that these episodes first unite us in grief and then polarize us in policies and freedoms.
Taking away guns or limiting their prevalence will prevent mass shooting episodes in the future. Handing everybody a gun will enable us to proactively stop would-be mass shooters. This never would have happened in the first place if the shooter hadn’t had access to a gun. I could have stopped that if I had my gun on me. The arguments go both ways, and often, one view insults or disgusts the other.
Perhaps the only way we can focus on the polemics of gun violence without first getting distracted by policy and logistics is to bring it down to the human level: understanding the pain, loss, and suffering. Now, parents of Sandy Hook victims are taking the first step to educate us all on the human side of gun violence, and how easily we can ignore the warning signs. This viral video knocked me off my feet, and I couldn’t only watch once.