“Just Another Mass Shooting” – The Mentality Surrounding the Las Vegas Shooting

I was sitting at a table in Weld on the morning of October 2nd, reviewing for a test with Rev. Hill when his phone buzzed. He glanced at it, shook his head, mentioned something about a mass shooting, and then we went back to our review session. At the time I brushed it off. I mean, mass shootings pretty common these days. We hear about them on the news and see them on CNN and FOX’s snapchat pages. I even went as far as to think “Oh it’s on the West Coast. It has nothing to do with me.” I later learned that this mass shooting had taken place at a country music festival I knew my friend and her parents had attended. Suddenly this event that had seemed so distant, almost foreign to me became strikingly real. I was now the one making frantic calls to one of my best friends and panicking a little bit more each time it went to voicemail. Finally, after two and a half excruciatingly long days of waiting, calling, and praying for her safety, my calls were answered with a short text.



I was floored by this news. I hadn’t known her father well, but I had met him once or twice.  The fact that even though she was okay, her dad — someone who I had met, talked with, made bad jokes with, and watched her horse show with — was dead. I could barely comprehend this. This was no longer another mass shooting that I would see on the news and maybe donate twenty dollars to the families affected. Now I knew people whose lives were turned upside down by this attack.


In the 21st century, mass shootings like this one are becoming increasingly common. According to BBC News, there were 372 mass shootings in the United States in 2015; a number that the FBI says is greatly increasing. A mass shooting is defined as, “one [shooting] in which four or more people selected indiscriminately, not including the perpetrator, are killed.” This definition is similar to the FBI’s definition of mass murder.


Because of the frequency of mass shootings, we’ve been programmed to see this as just another unfortunate event. With this “just another” mentality surrounding these shootings, we often forget that the victims whose pictures we see on the news were real people. Every person who tragically died on that night left family behind. They were all someone’s brother, sister, mother, father, daughter, son, or best friend. This now commonplace occurrence of mass shootings seems to degrade the fact that they are all people whose lives were cut far too short by one man’s evil act.


Fifty-eight people were murdered that night and some of us were not affected at all. We have become so accustomed to these acts of violence that we do not falter when we see them. They have become routine, ritual, and unimportant to those not directly connected to them. No act of violence should be considered normal. There is no such thing as “just another” mass shooting.



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