Taking Aim

The imminent threat of desensitization to school violence

104. That is the number of students and faculty who have been killed in school shootings since 2010. 28 in Newtown, 7 in Oakland, 10 in Roseburg, and many more dead because of seemingly senseless violence caused by distraught and disturbed murderers. However, why does it seem as if the media only covers the events of a school shooting if multiple people are killed? Why does it take the bloodshed of several students or faculty members to bring the attention of the nation?

The reason is simple. We have been desensitized to wicked acts of ruthless violence and unimaginable sorrow, grief, and pain. As a society we have simply seen too many school shootings, too many students murdered, and too many gunshots fired in our halls and at our friends and family. We have seen so much bloodshed, so much horror, and so much unbelievable acts of senseless violence that we, as a society, no longer feel the need to empathize with a hurting community for longer than a few short weeks.

School shootings have become commonplace in America, where it seems that every other week another disturbed or disgruntled student opens fire on their very own classmates. We see the violence, the bloodshed, and the horror, yet what are we doing as a community to empathize for these families torn apart by the unnecessary brutality inflicted on their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, husbands and wives.

We see struggle and pain, yet we turn the other cheek after the evening news report is finished. We see the lives being destroyed by these killers, yet we continue to walk through our own halls, seemingly unfazed. We forget the solidarity we held, and we forget the wretched feelings we had in the days following Newtown. We forget the names and faces of the pain, condemning these blameless victims to a life of everlasting misery.

We must gather, not as a school, nor a community, but as a risen society. We must stand together, making efforts to heal the broken lives that will never be repaired as results of what happened.

We must observe a moment of utter trepidation, embracing the fear that surrounds us, a fear that we are so ignorant and oblivious of, yet lie so proximate to the indistinguishable persistent threat. Desensitization to horrendous actions will promote a narcissistic society, one that disregards the pain of others, one where people feel no empathy, compassion, or affinity for those in pain.

Pain will never escape the families torn apart by the atrocious tragedies that occurred in their schools. We cannot allow ourselves to be desensitized by these heinous crimes. Rise up, stand together as one, and care for the broken. Care for those who have had so much taken away from them. Care for these families, and for each other.