What’s wrong with America?

Amanda Perelli

“Several college women were celebrating their 21st birthdays.”

“Country music was blaring and beer was flowing.”

“Then all of a sudden, into ‘College Country Night!’ at the Borderline Bar & Grill stepped a man with a gun.”

These quotes are pulled from a New York Times (NYT) article on the most recent mass shooting on Nov. 7 in Thousand Oaks, California, where 12 were killed at a country music bar.

As a college senior, a 21-year-old who often goes out to celebrate 21st birthdays and parties with friends, I think this sort of shooting should have been talked about more.

How many of you were shocked when you heard the news? Surprised? Angry, definitely. Frustrated, for sure. But, I know I wasn’t shocked at all. I wasn’t surprised by the news because it’s become somewhat of a ‘norm’ in our culture.

In the United States, there have been 307 mass shooting this year, 346 the year prior and 382 in 2016, according to Gun Violence Archive.

In our history, we remember the earlier shootings; like Columbine, Colorado in 1999; Sandy Hook, Connecticut in 2012; Pulse Nightclub, Orlando in 2016 and now Parkland, Florida this year. Besides those, there are hundreds of others scattered in-between that we are not even aware of or are ever talked about.

Twelve people were killed last Wednesday – making the charts as one of the top deadliest shootings in the United States. To put that into perspective, 13 people were killed during the Columbine massacre, 28 were killed in Sandy Hook, 49 in Orlando, and 17 in Parkland.

Out of those 12 were college students – just like us – and yet how many college students are talking about what happened last Wednesday? Why are we only remembering those few shootings mentioned above? Is it because now shootings have become normal and the news is no longer shocking?

I want to bet that more than half of you reading this heard the news, read the first couple of sentences or watched the first few minutes and moved on with your day, midday forgetting about the entire thing. But I don’t blame you, I did it too. We’ve reached a stage where we have become numb to the news of mass shootings in our country – and that scares me a lot.

There are a number of things which I believe have contributed to this. First, the internet and social media for providing us with minute-by-minute information about everything happening in the world at our fingertips. Second, it’s depressing, we feel helpless (although we are not) and we don’t want to talk about it because talking about it makes it real. Third, Quinnipiac is located on the other side of the country, so for the most part, we don’t know the people affected and we are far removed from the situation, except again, we’re not.

We are the same as them. We go out, we celebrate birthdays and we dance to music with our friends. This can happen anywhere. It’s real. So, at least for myself, I want to start talking about mass shootings more. I want to ask why and I want to know how other people around me are feeling about it.

Even though we aren’t talking about the most recent shootings, I believe that we are still thinking about them. I don’t know the best way to put an end to them, but I do think that if we had more open conversations about what’s going on, especially as young people whose generation is a target, than together we will grow stronger in combating the issue.

Share your thoughts on these events with your friends and start up healthy conversations about what’s going on. Educate yourself on the facts and realize that this is more than just another shooting, it’s a big deal, but only if we care can we prevent it from happening again.