On Dec. 2, two shooters killed 14 people and wounded 21 in San Bernardino, California. This was the 355th mass shooting this year, according to The Washington Post.
On the same day in Savannah, Georgia, another mass shooting took place, killing one and injuring three.
These incidents are tragedies. But unfortunately, they are not unusual.
In fact, mass shootings seem to be becoming more and more commonplace.
As the result of so many occurrences, we, the American people, are becoming desensitized to the value of life: and it shows. There have been more mass shootings that have transpired so far this year than days that have occurred, according to The New York Times.
In fact, 462 people have died and 1,314 have been wounded in these attacks.
Shootingtracker.com is a website that tracks these shootings. The site considers a mass shooting to be any incident in which four or more people are affected, either through death or injury.
This site has a different classification of what is considered a mass shooting compared to the FBI, who has previously defined a mass shooting as an instance when four or more people must be killed, according to The Washington Post.
The media isn’t showing each of these instances because these shootings have become so familiar to us.
There have been so many shootings we have heard very little about.
Why do some shootings receive significantly more coverage than others?
All life has value and needs to be honored. The end result was the same: people were killed and injured.
The New York Times references some of these shootings. We all remember Columbine, Newtown, and now, San Bernardino. But what about all the other attacks that occurred in between?
“Seventeen were wounded in a shootout as a crowd watched the filming of a music video in New Orleans and four were killed, including twin 5-month-olds, in an episode of domestic violence in Jacksonville, Florida,” according to The New York Times.
The New York Times also cited an incident where six people were killed at a campsite in East Texas this past November.
Life was lost or forever altered in every case.
Shouldn’t every person affected in these instances deserve to have their story heard?
Evidence of our inability to empathize as we should was expressed in the reaction to the Colorado Springs shooting where Robert Lewis Dear initiated open gunfire in a Planned Parenthood clinic, killing an officer and two civilians and wounding nine others.
Many flocked to Twitter to discuss the shooting. Some supported the actions of the gunman.
“Folks upset that murderers & murder enablers died at #PlannedParenthood but babies die at #PlannedParenthood everyday, why shouldn’t adults?” said @Envrio_Mint via Twitter.
Some went even further, claiming Dear to be a hero, one to be celebrated.
“Active Shooter Colorado Planned Parenthood. I would think this brave HERO is saving innocent Baby lives!” said David JGoodwin, @DJGoodwin1 via Twitter.
President Barack Obama addressed the issue of these shootings being “routine” to the American people, when he was addressing the shooting in Oregon that happened earlier this year.
Obama lamented at his having to continually express condolences to the communities of these victims when he feels powerless to stop these incidents from happening.
“I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again in my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families under these circumstances,” Obama said. “But based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that.”
We, as the American people, need to spark a different conversation.
What exactly needs to change is unclear, but considering the loss of life and the trauma inflicted by these shootings, something needs to change.
If we truly cared for these victims, wouldn’t we all be rallying together, looking for something to do about it?
We cannot let these things become commonplace. We cannot stop empathizing and mourning for these families. We cannot change what has been done.
What we can do is take the opportunity to support the families of those who have lost their lives and look to stop it in the future.