There have been at least 565 mass shootings since the start of 2023. A mass shooting constitutes shootings involving four or more persons. Today’s media is saturated with coverage of war, mass shootings, and increased instances of racism including a rise in antisemitism and anti-muslim rhetoric and hate crimes. This underlying lower tolerance for minority groups has become the perfect intersection of increased situational violence.
While the world is immersed in news coverage of these issues, we have yet to recover fully mentally from the trauma left from the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, recently guns have become the leading cause of death among children and young adults. The question becomes, are we as a society now immune to the horror that mass shootings bring?
The issue of guns found in high levels in inner city or predominantly minority neighborhoods with residents at or slightly above the poverty line has been steadily increasing in many areas across the country. Gun violence has also infiltrated other areas outside of the inner city and has impacted individuals across income and educational levels.
Mass shootings and their disturbing aftermath have managed to rip our sense of safety in virtually every kind of setting. Whether it is an elementary school, college, church, synagogue, mall, supermarket, movie theater, bar, concert, or bowling alley, this horrendous epidemic has been there.
Often, marginalized communities have crimes occur involving gun violence against children or involving domestic violence, yet the solution is slow to come. The impact of having both localized violence and now more widespread violence is undoubtedly something that will have an effect on generations to come.
One can argue that this is not an argument concerning just the right to bear arms but a right to thrive in a safe community and environment. There are arguments on all sides from many with opposing views, however, what may be missing from both sides is establishing common sense goals that all can agree on. The need to provide safety to all individuals including our most vulnerable is paramount and should be at the forefront of any discussions on curbing mass shootings.
There will always be a reason why someone turns to violence and bringing about harm to others. This does not take away from our leaders finding effective and meaningful ways to mitigate the occurrences of mass shootings. There is too much available technology and resources to settle for anything less than safety for our children and all members of society.
565 is a number that is not only unacceptable but would have been unimaginable decades ago. Gun violence and the trauma it leaves behind is a public health emergency that knows no boundaries. It deserves as much resources dedicated to eradicating the issue as other devastating diseases.
If you are reading this and wondering what you can do, you have taken a step closer just by reading this short commentary. The next step is learning what you can do by reaching out to your community leaders and local advocates. There is comfort in numbers and knowing that humanity can prevail and push back against this alarming trend. It is not too late to change the trajectory for both current and future generations.