By: Hannah Welbourn (Contact: email@example.com)
“The deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.” I have seen this record broken in news headlines three times already in my life.
In 2007, Seung-Hui Cho opened fire at Virginia Tech, killing 32 students and faculty members. Then in 2016, 49 people were killed at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, becoming the most deadly shooting. Last month, the record was broken once again in Las Vegas, with 58 killed and more than 500 wounded.
With each event, we see social media blow up with people tweeting and hashtagging their thoughts and prayers. Profile pictures are changed to borders with text supporting the victims. Public figures like celebrities and politicians tweet their support as well.
But then when a public figure voices that just maybe, these events would happen less if the laws surrounding firearms were to change, they are seen as villains for politicizing a tragedy.
Why is it such a crime to want to prevent more tragedies like mass shootings from happening? Why is tweeting a supportive hashtag seen as more effective than calling for action?
I understand wanting to be respectful of the victims and their families by not using something so tragic to push your political agenda. Furthermore, tweeting support is by no means a bad thing. Social media can be a powerful tool in uniting in the wake of tragedy, and the thoughts and prayers that flood in are not trivial.
But they’re not enough. While writing this, my phone lit up with a notification that at least 20 were killed at a church in San Antonio.
A mass shooting once a year (at the least) is too much. The United States is the only country that sees tragedies like this occur in such high volumes. Why have laws surrounding firearms not changed?
I also understand that it’s the shooter, not the gun, who chooses to kill innocent people for no reason. However, when that individual has access to a weapon with a sole purpose of destroying mass amounts of people very quickly, we see events like Las Vegas and San Antonio. But my purpose here is not to tell you about how much I hate guns.
Politicizing tragedy is not an act of evil. It is simply a call for action in an attempt to minimize these wrongful deaths of innocent people. It’s not about politics; it’s about humanity. ■