For the first time ever, news of a shooting left me uninterested and unsurprised. Thinking back now to the moment when I first read my Twitter feed concerning the Maryland mall shooting, I realize that incidents as grave as gunmen and shootings have become little more than typical, everyday occurrences.
Our generation is, in a word, desensitized.
Think for a moment what it says about a society that expects such horrors from fellow humans, even anticipates them. Yet in the two decades that I have been alive, I have borne witness to hundreds of such stories, many of them truly devastating, yet subject to only a brief moment of attention amidst the thousands of additional news headlines screaming for attention.
Our generation vividly remembers the events of Sept. 11, 2001. We have grown up watching story after story of terrorist threats, executions and civil unrest in the Middle East. We are well accustomed to both the horrors of war and the senselessness of civilian shootings.
Take, for instance, the retired Florida police officer Curtis Reeves shooting 43-year-old Chad Oulson during a heated argument concerning Oulson’s texting during movie previews.
Or what about the Jan. 25 Maryland mall shooting where a 19-year-old opened fire with no sign of rationale, leaving two dead before killing himself.
Whenever bizarre tragedies of this sort occur, people immediately become politically flamboyant, and another fiery gun control debate explodes. One person wants guns banned. The other preaches the Second Amendment.
But an argument like the one that ended Oulson’s life could begin anywhere, and the arbitrary arrival of a gunman in your vicinity is left completely to chance.
Human emotions are powerful. They can be magnificent or terrible, beautiful or frightful. Emotions contain the best and worst aspects of the human race.
We can make all of the laws we want to combat irritations — like not texting in movie theaters — or to keep public spaces protected, but we cannot make laws to stop human emotions.
When contemplating what possible solutions there may be to these distressing situations, we can spend hours attempting to propose better legislation or stricter laws. But at the end of the day, we are all left without an answer.
And maybe that is just it. Maybe there is no answer. Maybe there is not even a lesson to be learned. Maybe tragedies just happen as the result of living in a sinful world.
Sometimes there is no right or wrong side. It does not matter if you are a Conservative, a Liberal, pro-gun, anti-gun or somewhere in between all of the mess. Sometimes tragic things just happen, and all that we can point to is the fall of man and the aftermath of sin infesting our world.
When responding to the emotions that arise following such heinous acts, do not use what happened to forward a political agenda. And do not allow the hyper-
exposure to violence and death numb you to the value of a human life.
Regardless of how often we hear about death, it is important to remember that these occurrences have real repercussions with real, grieving victims.
The blatant disregard for human life is a tragedy. Sometimes that is all there is to it.