I remember the last time I felt the true agony of gun violence. I remember where I was and my reaction and utter state of bewilderment. I sat on a cramped bench during an assembly at my school when I felt the vibration of my phone.
Expecting it to be an update about the Patriots or the Lakers, I scanned around, making sure the teachers would not see me. I then briefly looked at my phone, and to my surprise it was not a text from a friend or a SportsCenter update, but a CNN notification about a shooting.
A shooting at an elementary school. Details emerged after we left the auditorium and within time, it would be known as the infamous Sandy Hook Shooting.
Fast-forward almost three years. I'm walking in the rain to my Spanish class. My phone vibrates and I take a peek. It's a notification from the New York Times. It says "The authorities are responding to reports of a shooting with multiple victims in San Bernardino, CA." I looked at it, felt some sadness and disappointment, then went back to listening to some Justin Bieber song.
What I lacked was this anguish I felt during the Sandy Hook shooting. Obviously, I felt devastation and anger, but really, how uncommon is such a shooting? It's really only a matter of time before the next one.
We've spent the past couple weeks mourning the Paris shooting. After the Paris shooting came the Planned Parenthood shooting. Today, we have the shooting in a San Bernardino facility for the developmentally disabled. It's a sad truth, but in a matter of weeks or months, another shooting may occur, and the San Bernardino shooting will be in the history books with the Tucson and Aurora shootings.
The names flow from my mouth so quickly, like state capitals. Jared Loughner, Adam Lanza, James Holmes, and most recently, Robert Dear. Why do I know these names? They committed mass murders of innocent, kind, and compassionate human beings. They obtained guns and utilized them not for hunting or for sport but for murder.
While I should feel immense sympathy and a desire to make a change, this attitude appears more and more idealistic and unimaginable after each shooting. What really can we do to change the culture of gun violence in the United States?
President Obama is a fantastic orator, but I'm beginning to become a little tired of hearing similar speeches about tragedies in our country and unanswered pleas to prevent gun violence. I'd rather him speak about his executive action on immigration, his economic plans, even BO. Just anything besides offering condolences for gun violence.
Mass shootings should not be normal. We as a country must be united in preventing gun violence. We must not only offer our "prayers, and condolences" as each of the Republican Presidential candidates mentioned. No, we must offer pragmatic solutions. The new president must make it his/her priority to create policies to drastically minimize mass shootings in the United States.
I wish for a day when shootings will no longer be mundane, but will truly be news with ample time to mourn, not just another notification in my lock screen.