Honestly, I'm Surprised We're Still Talking About The Parkland Shooting

Honestly, I'm Surprised We're Still Talking About The Parkland Shooting

It means that this shooting will have a deeper impact on the dialogue and the movement of gun control in this country.
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I think it’s great that we are still talking about it. It feels like the longest we’ve ever talked about a shooting. We tend to get bored easily. Usually, what I’ve noticed is that the conversation tends to last for a couple days before we become distracted by something else in the media whether it be something horrible the president has done or some sort of celebrity scandal that people can’t stop talking about.

During this past week, I felt reluctant to join the conversation. I didn’t feel it would do any good. We would all be appalled by the event. Appalled by the reaction from the opposition. Appalled that people seemed so apprehensive to do anything, that people made excuses for the deaths of the people, that people pointed fingers at everyone else, the government, the victims, the guns, the NRA, the gun enthusiasts, the mentally ill. Bullying, bad security, fragile masculinity, bad upbringing, violence in media and each idea is the absolute correct and simple answer to end the suffering we endure when a school is faced with violence from an active shooter. This hadn’t been new for me.

We would hear about a shooting. People would go through their usual stunts of scapegoating, evading blame, becoming politically charged, demanding political reform and then it would just die out within a matter of days.

But we are more than a week from Valentine’s Day and we’re still talking about it.

Perhaps it’s too early to tell and perhaps by the time I publish this article, the conversation will have already died out. But something about this event feels different and I think it’s the dialogue. Yes, most of it has already been the same, but the way the victims have organized not even a few day after feels different. Being a victim is viewed as a passive experience. You are having something done to you. But there is something that changes within you when you go through a traumatic experience.

The fact that the victims of the shooting are doing something makes all of this difference.

It means that this shooting will have a deeper impact on the dialogue and the movement of gun control in this country.

I feel awful being passive as a person who recently had been in my own shooting in Chicago when an unknown person fired off a round into the street near the Red Line stop. It still hasn’t set in exactly how much danger I had been in at that exact moment. Thankfully no one had been hurt. I’ve experienced a lockdown at a school where there had been a shooter in the neighborhood and that my teacher and my classmates didn’t take it seriously because they thought it was just another lockdown drill. Imagine how much danger we could have been in had there been a shooter in the building. We were lucky.

And despite this, I feel numb when our country is met by a tragedy like the Parkland one. It feels just like another day. How horrible is it that seventeen children dying in a shooting feels just like another day. That it feels annoying to me. That I just want to move on with it. I’ve become numb because of how often this sort of thing happens. It’s become a routine. The death of children in a shooting shouldn’t become routine.

My hope is that this event is different. That the victims continue to be politically active despite the GOP and their smear campaigns claiming that the children were paid protesters. I hope that they continue because they are inspirational. They are waking me up. They’re grabbing my attention because unfortunately I’m asleep.

Even though I’ve been through a shooting, I’m asleep. And while it’s not their job to invigorate people to care about this, it’s something that is needed. We need to wake up and do something about it.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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