Our Reaction to Mass Shootings Has to Change

Whenever a mass shooting occurs, we are left wondering about a number of things. We are informed of the when, where, body count, and identities of the shooters, but the answer we wait for the most is the “why” behind the crime.

The number of mass shootings that have occurred this year allows us to see that each time, Americans try to put these shootings into context. It’s wondered whether the shooter was motivated by race, religion, sex, or mental illness, and so on.

There is no point in wondering about the motives behind a mass shooting when nothing is being done to prevent them. At least 355 mass shootings have occurred in America this year and yet nothing has changed in our response; we grieve, pray, and move on.

After the attention dissipates from each mass shooting, we forget about their existence until the next happens- something that doesn’t take long- and no interest is shown in preventing another tragedy.

One day after the San Bernardino shooting, GOP Senators blocked two gun control measures. The first would deny guns to U.S. citizens who are on a government terrorist watch list, the other would have implemented background checks on gun buyers.

When the dust settles, we as a society are no more motivated to make guns less accessible to those who use them to hurt others than we were before the shooting. Those who commit such massacres continue to have access to legally obtain the guns they use for violence because nothing has been done to stop them.

It’s no longer about if a mass shooting will occur, but when. We now anticipate for massacres to occur. We are waiting for the next tragedy to make headlines and hope for America to transform enough that one day, we will not have more mass shootings than days in the year.

The motive may be vital in placing responsibility and taking appropriate action, but trying to justify the actions of shooters is pointless. Whether the shooter did it because they were terrorists, bullied, or mentally ill, they committed acts of violence that left people injured or killed.


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