On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza brought a secret weapon to Sandy Hook Elementary School. Not only did he carry with him weapons of war, but in his arsenal was a dosage of a numbing agent so powerful, it would freeze the entire country for the foreseeable future. It made us unable to take any real action on gun violence, ensuring that attacks like his would be replicable in the future. The aftermath of this shooting was all the proof one needs: Not a single bill has become law to address the situation
As I sat myself down to write this piece, I felt a certain numbness. I’m numb to the idea that gun violence is epidemically present in American society. I’m numb to the fact that no gun legislation will become law (at the very least) before 2021. I’m numb to the thought of the unspeakable anguish that thousands each year will now experience knowing their loved ones will never come back.
Despite the utter vegetative state that we as a society have reached on the issue, we must continue to push toward an end to a preventable problem such as this. After the massacre of 2012, we fell on our backs and refused to get up. We became numb and masked each tragedy with a new excuse to cover the cause of gun violence: guns. What was the race of the shooter? What was the mental state of the shooter? What kinds of video games are we playing in society? The pseudo-concerns range from sensible to racist to outright as fantastic as the video games themselves. We are diagnosed with a disease, and we refuse to find a cure.
That numbing agent? Almost seven years later, and we’re still too numb to feel anything.
The majority of the United States Congress is confined to the labor camps of the NRA’s despot. To me, this is a case of king and servant – the inexplicable inaction combined with the endless lottery of cash that the NRA contributes to its choice candidates keeps the leash on tight, so tight that a mere mention of “gun control” in the public sphere is political suicide. As a non-American, I feel sorry for my American friends, having to be represented by spineless, cowardly and submissive representatives who bend and twist to the will of the gun lobby.
Ironically, I was prompted to write this piece based on the “shock” felt as a result of the spate of shootings over the last month. But I reconsidered: Was I really taken aback by yet another incidence of gun violence in America? If you are anything like me, then you still feel an enduring numbness that seems to never disappear. I confess that I didn’t do any prior research about patterns or previous massacres that have occurred, but I can name 10 in recent memory which were no more “shocking” than the ones we saw recently.
Las Vegas, Orlando, San Bernardino, Aurora, Charleston, Santa Fe, Washington Navy Yard, Chattanooga, Parkland, Sutherland Springs.
And I didn’t even have to mention Newtown. Or Virginia Tech. Or Columbine. Or Dayton, El Paso or Gilroy.
When I debate gun policy with my colleagues, I conclude with a wager that often leaves the room silent: I will gladly bet any amount of money on the prediction that there will be another massacre in the near future, and it will be in the United States. The cycle will continue. I don’t usually gamble, but this is the safest bet I’ll ever make. Any takers?
Daniel Schwartz is a masters student studying philosophy.