I remember how terrified and sad I felt in 1999 when two shooters opened fire at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, killing 12 students and one teacher before taking their own lives.
The shooting became even more publicized with the release of Michael Moore’s documentary, Bowling for Columbine which discussed gun control (or the lack there of) in the United States.
Here we are 16 years later, and the most recent shooting on Oct. 1 at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon has become all but a bullet point on the nightly news.
In fact, it wasn’t until President Obama’s speech hours after the shooting that killed nine people (not including the shooter, who took his own life) and injured another nine that finally spiked an interest on social media and became a trending item, albeit briefly.
A co-worker saw what was happening on CNN and ran to my desk and showed me the shooting that had taken place. I immediate took to Facebook to see what else was being said about the tragedy. To my surprise, none of my 1,200 plus Facebook friends posted anything on their walls about the shooting.
I immediately starting thinking people are just really apathetic these days and don’t care about anything that doesn’t directly affect their own lives. But the more I thought about it, the more I started to think it’s not that they don’t care, it’s that we’ve become so desensitized as a society that a mass shooting in the states is becoming the norm.
There have been dozens of shootings since Columbine, and little has been done to change the country’s gun laws.
Following the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December 2012 when a 20-year-old man fatally shot 20 children and six adults (then killed himself), President Obama try to introduce gun control legislation, which failed to pass through congress.
Following the Oregon shooting, the president spoke to the nation.
“There’s been another mass shooting in America,” he said. “As I said just a few months ago and a few months before that and I said each time we see one of these mass shootings, our thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.”
The United States is the only advanced country on earth that sees mass shootings every few months, which has become routine, he said.
“We’ve become numb to this.”
While gun supporters may disagree with Obama on legislation, they can’t disagree with him on the fact that we have become numb to such tragedies.