“Omg, I Hope No One’s Hurt…”

Such is the state of gun violence in America, that when I received a push notification late last night with the title “Shots fired in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang duel” from a prominent Arsenal blogger I follow, my immediate reaction was not — as it should have been — “Oh, I bet this is related to how best to use Aubameyang’s and (Alexandre) Lacazette’s scoring prowess harmoniously, and get each to push the other to be better,” but rather “Omg, shots fired? What’s going on? Omg, I hope no one’s hurt. Why don’t the BBC or the Guardian or Agence France-Presse have any updates?!?” General panicking until I stopped myself, thought about it, and realized that it was just a formerly common metaphor, not a description of actual events occurring in real time.

Such is the state of gun culture in America in 2018. Seeing phrases like “shots fired,” the automatic assumption is gun violence, rather than a fear of an improbable but not impossible situation. Gun violence has even lost its ability to shock — I was a freshman in high school when the Columbine massacre shattered the nation’s naïveté (there has never been innocence) regarding mass shootings, and it hit my generation hard. Now, almost 20 years later, we’ve learned not to be horrified by death tolls in mere handfuls — as though a shooting that results in “only” four or five dead doesn’t make the cut, doesn’t really count — but in dozens — 33 at Virginia Tech, 28 at Sandy Hook, 49 in Orlando, 59 in Las Vegas, 27 in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Seventeen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. A friend texts you or you get a push notification from the New York Times alerting you that it’s happening again, and by now, you just shrug and wonder “how many this time?” Movements like that started by the incredible survivors of the Parkland massacre — the “March For Our Lives — are essential to combatting this learned passivity. It’s not as though we’re indifferent to the horror, don’t mourn the victims whose lives were lost and mourn with the victims who survived and their communities.

We’re just not surprised.

~ by Benji on April 7, 2018.

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