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Americans Blinded By Mass Shooting Headlines

People gather for protest for stricter gun control policies in Maryland back in 2013 just a few months following the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting where gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children (between ages 6 and 7 years old), as well as six adults (teachers and administrators, and his mother. Lanza died later the same day as the shooting from a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

People gather for protest for stricter gun control policies in Maryland back in 2013 just a few months following the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting where gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 children (between ages 6 and 7 years old), as well as six adults (teachers and administrators, and his mother. Lanza died later the same day as the shooting from a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head.

Sarah Hunsicker, Editor-in-Chief

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“Deadliest Mass Shooting in American History,” I have seen this headline a three times throughout my life and I’m seventeen. I first saw it in 2007, again in 2016, and for the third time in October of this year.

Every morning it seems like we wake up to another headline about another mass shooting that has occurred somewhere in the nation. It seems like we are censored to the entire subject of gun violence. We are so used to the same headline rolling across our televisions that it has almost no effect on us. Most recently on November 5th a shooting took place in Sutherland Springs, Texas. A total of 26 church goers were slaughtered. The ages of the victims range from 18 months to 77 years old. Among the victims was the pastor’s daughter who was 14 years old. This shooting is recognized as the largest mass shooting to be carried out in a place of worship.

The top five deadliest mass shootings have all occurred at some point in my lifetime. Number five on the list occurred at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Mentioned before 26 people were killed. Number four on the list occurred back in December of 2012 when Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary school killing 26 people, 20 of which were children of ages 6 and 7. Coming in at number 3 is the shooting where a Virginia Tech student opens fire at two different locations killing 32 in April of 2007. Shooter Seung-Hui Cho later committed suicide. Just last year Omar Saddiqui Mateen goes on a shooting spree inside Pulse, a gay night club, located in Orlando, Florida. This shooting is recognized as the second deadliest shooting. Finally, falling in at number one on the list, The Harvest Music Festival shooting. Shooter Steven Paddock sprays a crowd of concert-goers with bullets from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. 58 people were killed and injures more than 500 others.

I remember each of the days listed above so vividly that I could tell you where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing when it happened.

The problem with these larger shootings that are occurring is the fact that Americans are too blinded by the larger problem to realize that there are other shooting happening everyday. They’re on a much smaller scale though so they don’t get the publicity that these larger shootings are getting. Also with these shootings, the weapon of choice always seems to be fixed to shoot like a semi automatic rifle. Or other cases, the weapon is already a semi automatic fire arm. I understand that people own rifles and shotguns to go deer and waterfowl hunting. But I can’t wrap my mind around the fact why someone would need to own a machine gun. There is absolutely no reason and need to own one. So why are gun shops still selling them to the general public? I understand the usage of machine guns being used for military force. But other then that I see no other usage for a semi automatic weapon or machine gun.

Another issue that ties into each of the mass shooting is the fact that the shooter is believed to be mentally unstable. I understand that there is a nationwide controversy where the idea of gun control is tossed back in forth. Personal I think that taking away weapons from everyone wouldn’t be necessary. If we take away firearms from everyone, people will still find away to illegally obtain firearms. The people that are causing the major mass shootings are known for having a history of mental illness. Virginia Tech shooter was reportedly hospitalized for having suicidal thoughts and having increased symptoms of depression and anxiety. Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza was diagnosed with Asperger’s but many health professions have speculated that he was also undiagnosed with Schizophrenia. Many investigators believe that the gunman that carried out the deadliest mass shooting in American history, Steven Paddock, had an undiagnosed mental illness. He was often described as disconnected and stand offish by the people that knew him. Most recently Texas gunman had a shocking history that was brought to light. In 2012, Devin Patrick Kelley reportedly escape from a mentally health facility after he had made threats against military leaders as well as assaulting his wife and son. The scary part is, he was still able to obtain firearms despite his history with the police.

We know that the people that are carrying out these mass shootings have a history of a mental illness. So why haven’t we made it more difficult for them to be able to obtain these firearms? Enforcing gun control would be a solution to this problem. During the Sutherland Springs shooting, the gun man stole one person’s vehicle and drove off. The owner of the stolen vehicle told another bystander what had just happened and they hopped into the bystanders truck and began to chase after the gunman. One of the two men had a fire arm with them and they shot and kill the gunman. When investigators found Kelley, he had three gunshot wounds to the chest (from the armed citizen) and he also had a self inflicted shots to the head. There is no word on which gun shot wound was the cause of the death but many are leaning towards the shots to the head.

How many more innocent lives have to be taken to early before lawmakers realize that tighter restrictions on firearms need to happen. In the world we live in today you can’t go out and do your day to day errands without a superstore getting sprayed with bullets. Just the other day, a Walmart store in Colorado was shot up by a man who said that he was haunted by demonic voices.

We’ve read the news articles. We’ve seen the headlines. We know that the people that carry out these mass shootings suffer from mental illness. So why are we still allowing them to have easy access to firearms? As Americans we should know the warning signs and we should take action. We shouldn’t be blind to the headlines.

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Americans Blinded By Mass Shooting Headlines