This Sunday, there was yet another mass shooting — the 305th this year according to ShootingTracker.com. In Fort Myers, Florida, at the ZombiCon horror-fan convention, an unknown shooter opened fire killing one and injuring five. Earlier this month, we passed the 1,000th mass shooting since Sandy Hook, 3 years ago. This month, we even had two school shootings in the same day. And according to Everytown Research that’s not even the first time this has happened… this year.
Satirical outlets often have the best responses for when the unthinkable happens. The Onion has gotten a lot of mileage out of “‘No Way To Prevent This,” Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens“, and though John Oliver’s recent “Mental Health” report was tied to the Umpqua shooting two days before the broadcast, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that the bulk of the piece was already written for the next shooting to happen, needing only to slot in the details.
Every time something like this happens, we think that maybe things will change. But they never do. People call for gun control, who are shouted down by gun advocates claiming they’re “politicizing a tragedy”, and then something else pops up in the news cycle and everyone forgets. Until it happens again, when the cycle starts again.
For a while, Sandy Hook — where some asshole shot up an elementary school and killed twenty children — seemed like it would be the catalyst for change. But we’ve had 1,000 mass shootings since then — and debates rage as to whether or not Sandy Hook was a hoax. We need to grow up and be adults. Looking for made-up conspiracies isn’t helping and only wastes energy that could be used on change.
But what sort of change? Well, there’s lots. Something needs to be done about guns — automatic and semi-automatic weapons in particular. They’re too easy to get and too powerful, but that’s only one part of the puzzle. If you look at many other countries with high gun ownership, they don’t have as many shootings as America does.
One bright spot is that the media appears to be slowly changing in how they cover these events. Experts have long claimed that naming shooters does more harm than good. and with the Umpqua shooting, it was common to see editorials in favor of not naming the shooter. Even conservative news outlets jumped on the bandwagon. With luck, this will continue, and hopefully help decrease mass shootings…. but, again, considering their frequency, does “some decrease” even matter? Is “slightly less” an improvement? If we take a gallon of water from a lake, have we done anything?
Perhaps not, but considering the massive lobbying on the part of gun owners and the National Rifle Association, what other options do we have?