It seems like in our society, the American flag sails at half-mast more often that it does not. The flag is only positioned like this in times of crisis, or more often in our case, to honor the victims of the atrocities that seem to happen all too often in our country. As events like the Orlando massacre become more and more common, we always seem to shrug it off. That tragedy was in June, yet I haven’t heard anything about it for months. It’s as if everyone suddenly forgot about it. This awful event will just go into the history books with the hundreds of others that have plagued our country. When was the last time you heard someone talk about the Sandy Hook massacre?
Tragedies like these seem to repeat themselves time and time again, and it’s as if we’ve become numb to them. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that at a certain point, they’ll become too common to even bat an eyelash. In places that have very strict gun regulations, like England and Australia, the governments put in place their regulations immediately following massacres almost identical to the ones that burden the United States. Since banning firearms, Australia has not had a single mass shooting. In the United States, we have massacres every few months, and nothing has changed.
Nothing has changed after Columbine, the Virginia Tech Shooting, the Orlando nightclub shooting or many more. In the past 20 years, there have been 203 school shootings. Every single one of these shootings has had memorials, and each has had huge impacts on our nation. Each has been added to the U.S. history books, but only under the “American traditions” chapter. Guns have become so ingrained in certain aspects of our culture that many see the lack of them as a threat to their way of life. Although for those people, it would be impossible to even put the slightest restrictions on gun use or ownership, we need to start now.
We can count the number of injured or killed, but we can never calculate the impact of these events. History is being written every day through the blood shed by our neighbors. But it’s become so commonplace that it’s not even worth a turn of our heads. It’s as if a gun is fired and no one cares, the person didn’t really die, the family doesn’t really grieve, and our world isn’t really darkened. They say that tragedy brings us closer together, it strengthens our bonds, but how many tragedies must we live through to bring us close enough to do something? We must connect not only as a country, or as a people, but as a world. We do not even realize who the real enemy is. The real enemy is us. We need to wake up and realize that we need to act. These horrible events have gotten to the point that the defining characteristic of our generation is the violent attacks that have taken place all over the world. Hate has defined our generation.
Yet nothing changes. Thousands have been killed, wounded or affected, yet nothing changes. The Orlando shooter had been interrogated by the FBI twice, and was able to purchase a gun, yet nothing changes. From 1966 to 2012, the United States had 1/3 of the world’s shootings, yet nothing changes. Our country suffers from this parasite day after day, while countries with stricter gun laws watch in peace, yet nothing changes. Nothing will change if we continue to blame the first person we see. Nothing will change if we continue to argue with each other. Nothing will change, if we are not one.