Mass shootings in America: ‘Stuff happens’


The Appalachian Online

Paige Anderholm

On Oct. 1, a gunman opened fire on students at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon. With nine people killed and another 20 wounded, the total number of mass shootings this year in America is now at 294.

That number sounds like a lot even before you realize that we were only 274 days into the year. A mass shooting is defined as an incident where four or more people are killed or injured by gunfire.

So now think back on all of the dozens of cases we heard nothing about. Sure, we remember the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 18; nine people were killed during a prayer meeting that day.

There was also the Lafayette Theater shooting on July 23; two people were killed and nine others wounded.

But did you hear about the shooting in Chicago on Sept. 28? A pregnant mother and a grandmother were killed while her son and two others were wounded. Or what about the 10 wounded in a Georgia bar last week?

An article talking about the gun violence in America has to be updated daily for its statistics to be accurate. As a country, we have not gone for more than eight days without a mass shooting.

During a press conference on Friday, President Obama left strong remarks, “Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine, the conversation in the aftermath of it … We have become numb to this.”

And he is right. As I walked through the student union last Thursday, the headlines caught my eye on a TV tuned to CNN. I paused for some 15 seconds, just enough to the scan the words running on the screen. Incredibly, I wasn’t shocked.

At a campaign event on Friday, Jeb Bush offered his view on the shooting. “Look, stuff happens,” he said. “There’s always a crisis, and the impulse is always to do something and it’s not always the right thing to do.”

Again I can say, I am not shocked. The political climate in America is currently inexplicably paralyzed on the issue of gun control. If my impulse is to do something about this, how am I in the wrong?

It is time that our country stops acting that this amount of violence can be routine. Our policies will change when our attitude changes. What will it be?

Anderholm, a sophomore Geology major from Greensboro, is an opinion writer.