Gun violence can happen anywhere, so where has the outrage gone?

Nicholas Pestritto, Staff Writer

The time to stand up and face the harsh truth of gun violence repercussions on our country has been a long time coming.

The United States has normalized a culture of gun violence, mass shootings and death. If we continue down this road, not only will we become even more desensitized to mass shootings, but they will only grow. As students, are we prepared enough if this culture affects us firsthand? How will our community react if we are put in a situation involving gun violence?

On Feb. 13, a gunman shot and killed three students and injured five other students at Michigan State University. Authorities said he later died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Just like many other shootings we hear about on the news, it is students who are running, hiding and praying that they will survive senseless violence. It seems to be time to ask the question, will my school be next?

To be fully honest, when I read the breaking news notification from The New York Times app on my phone, I didn’t think much of it. I’m sure I am probably not the only one who had this reaction.

The fact that tragedies are happening and we are becoming desensitized to mass casualty events is terrifying. These acts of cruelty continue to keep happening in our country and have become a part of our everyday lives.

In a Pew Research Center survey conducted in April 2021, 48% of Americans said they see gun violence as a “very big problem” in the country today and 24% of Americans see it as a “moderately big problem.” Additionally, Everytown For Gun Safety reported in February 2022 that 58% of adults stated that they or someone they care for has experienced gun violence in their lifetime. Basically, a majority of people are very concerned about gun violence and that destructive gun-related culture has be- come normalized.

According to Axios, as of Feb. 15 the U.S. had already seen more than 70 mass shootings in 2023 and is on pace for more than 576 by the end of the year. This is clearly an extremely important problem that must be addressed before it starts to spiral even more out of control.

I really think that we have yet to reach the peak of this epidemic. It has become the new normal and it’s essential that we work to turn things around as soon as possible.

The mass shooting at Michigan State could have easily happened at any other college, university or even here, at Quinnipiac University. It could only be a matter of time before something exactly like that comes close to us and our lives. Is our campus security here at Quinnipiac going to be ready to respond to a situation like this? How effective will security be in the event of an active shooter on campus? Will the active shooter training given to students be enough?

Sometimes it seems like anyone can have access to our campus, especially now that we can allow certain restaurants to come directly through the security gates and onto campus. How strict is our campus security really when it comes to having people drive onto campus and are they always checking students for their student IDs?

The new active shooter training was sent to Quinnipiac students on Feb. 23 and is supposed to provide them with the knowledge necessary to know how to deal with a situation when there is an active shooter on campus. This training will only have an effect on the QU community if everyone completes it, but how will we know if that happens? Along with that, the training is

only considered to be “suggested” unlike the previous sexual assault and diversity, equity and inclusion trainings that are under the “mandatory” section. Questions surrounding the implementation of this new training and how effective it actually will be, absolutely need to be asked.

An event like this could happen anywhere and that is evident based on what we have seen in the past several years. This is exactly the fear that our generation will now have to live with for the rest of our lives, at least until something is done to protect students and children from being harmed while in the education system. We should realize that all of these events and the people who die with them carry a huge moral weight and we should never let that go.

If we continue to constantly see mass shootings in the news and don’t fully grasp their influence on our generation or simply choose to ignore what doesn’t directly impact us, the problem will continue to grow and get worse.

We cannot just disregard these tragic events or acknowledge them and proceed to move on and forget about them. It seems like we will only start to care about the problems of gun violence when we meet them head on and are directly impacted in some way.

How much longer will we have to live with a fear of being involved with a mass shooting? Will we be able to sustain living in this type of culture? We need to realize that constantly worrying about dying in mass shootings is not normal and should never be seen as normal.

We seem to be greatly lacking in understanding the impact that mass shootings have on our society and due to their frequency, the unfortunate truth is that we may sadly be involved in one at some point in our lives if we don’t start to change.