On December 14th, 2012, our country was in disbelief as 20 children and 6 adults lives were lost to a gunman who took their lives as well as his own at Sandy Hook Elementary school. On this day, each of us vowed that an event of this demeanor has no place in our world and that we would do everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.
Fast forward 7 years and mass shootings are popping up on the news day after day. As months roll on, it has become easier as a society to normalize these shootings, which is a red flag I never thought possible.
In June 2016, we witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in the United State's history at a nightclub in Orlando, leaving 50 dead on the scene. In between Sandy Hook and this shooting, there were 994 others. 994, let that sink in.
After Orlando, in October 2017, a shooting at a Las Vegas music festival saw 59 dead, becoming the new deadliest shooting in the U.S.
Most recently, a school shooting in Denver has left eight students injured and one 18 years old dead on May 7, 2019. This was preceded by a school shooting in North Carolina only days earlier, where 2 individuals lives were taken and 4 were injured.
As a citizen, it's easier to start distancing yourself from these overwhelmingly sad yet continuous occurrences, telling yourself that "this will be the last one" or that "maybe this will really make the laws change." Yet, no one and no place seems to be safe from these heartbreaking events.
From the most liberal places in California to the reddest southern states and all those in between, there is no pattern to these mass murders. No background or economic status has protected the thousands of innocent people from being taken from us way before their time.
About a month ago, I experienced the scare first hand at my school, the University of Michigan. We were told to go into hiding as police described suspects carrying concealed weapons on campus, with the news that there had been shots fired on the main campus. 4 hours into hiding, we were told that the alert was a false alarm, however, this day showed the disturbing reality of how anyone's life could change in a matter of milliseconds. Saddest of all was the overwhelming amount of times I heard "I knew it would happen here eventually" and "I always thought it would happen on a game day." No student should live in a world where they are expectant of a tragedy like this.
Mass killings of our countries people isn't a political issue. Mass killings of innocent children, teachers, friends, and loved ones should not be a fight between parties. After Sandy Hook, we said enough was enough. Years later, we're still turning on the news to see more lives taken, and the sentiment has been lost.
I've been fortunate enough to not have lost a friend, family member or peer in these 2,043 shootings. As someone who has gone through a false alarm, I can't imagine the reality of having to live on after a freak incident, especially one where you lose a loved one or a fellow community member.
2,044 mass shootings in 7 years, totaling 2,317 deaths and leaving over 8,000 injured. It's time we stand together, put aside our differences and work towards the only thing that should matter: never letting those with these cruel intentions have the opportunity to commit these crimes, and saving innocent lives in the memory of those we have already lost.