The Complex Emotions Caused By Mass Shootings

The Complex Emotions Caused By Mass Shootings

Thoughts from a student who is slowly becoming numb when it comes to tragic events.

On Wednesday, February 14th, a 19-year-old gunman and ex-student walked right into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, pulled the fire alarm, and opened fired as students came into the hallways. After being able to escape by blending in with the crowd, the gunman fled the school and made his way to a few towns over. From there, he was captured, sent to the hospital, and then arrested upon being released. The news came quick and heavy across all forces of news outlets. Within a matter of moments, the world was once again all coming together to stare and debate the latest mass shooting news.

I was no exception when it came to being invested in the breaking news. I remember very clearly. I had just walked into the lecture hall for my JAMS 101 class. I was sitting in one of the last rows, in a seat in the corner, when my phone buzzed. It was just before 2:00 CT and I had gotten a breaking news notification from my handy-dandy TMJ4 app. I opened the app and immediately, I saw the very first sentence which summarized that there had been a school shooting in Florida and all they knew was 20 students were injured. I closed the app and got ready for lecture.

In the moment, I didn’t think to sit back and register what I had just read. Instead, I opened my notebook and waited for my professor to begin. At the time, it felt like the natural thing to do. From there, I didn’t really think about the incident or get another notification for it. It slipped my mind until I moved onto my last class and my roommate was on snapchat. I saw the story for the shooting and it suddenly hit me again.

When we got back to the suite, we were bombarded on facebook with posts saying, "pray for Florida" or "we need more gun control." and depressing photos that you’d expect your dramatic aunt to share.

Upon seeing all the posts, we were on a hunt for all the information we could gather. We were scavenging the internet, in all the corners of all the news networks, trying to dig up information on who was the shooter, what was he like in school, why did he do this, how did he get in, etc. All the major questions anyone would want to, we were on the hunt for like some wild hackers.

In the midst of our searches, we stumbled upon videos taken at the crime scenes and even during the shootings. While these were heartbreaking, we moved on with our investigation. And right there lies the problem at hand.

There’s this vicious cycle I have found my generation goes through. When hearing of a mass shooting, we no longer feel the deep, rooted sadness one would expect. We aren’t exactly to be blamed for this, either. We, a collective generation, have been exposed to so many shootings and tragedies that now it just rolls right off our shoulders. The best way to express my feelings towards it is to compare it to how humans can adapt to smells. When exposed to a scent for a very long time, such as the smell of our homes, we stop smelling it. However, sometimes we a whiff of it when we walk back in but then it disappears once again. This is the commonality of mass shootings has toyed with my emotions. When you have already 18 shootings in a year and its only February... who has enough strength in them to really sit down and truly grieve. By the time you’re done, there’s already another one to focus on and the unbearable cycle rolls on.

Of course what happened is tragic, it always is tragic, it’s just our reactions to everything have become so obsolete. We have grown to have this mentality of “oh another one” and shuffle through life. No society should ever have to adapt to violence but we can’t help it. With nothing ever changing, we hear the same banter, the same cases, the same causes... all of that. It’s the same news, same chatter, and it’s enough to drive someone insane.

It’s a shame we have come to this moment in society. I do not mean to sound insensitive because I truly do feel something about the latest mass shooting it’s just that it has become a waiting game for the next tragedy. I do truly feel horrified by the events and this now makes me uneasy to go anywhere. However, all the emotions just bundle together and sooner or later I can’t take it, my body can’t take it, and my mind certainly can’t take it. So, we just adapt to it. As much as I would love for that to change, it seems it never will. If we can’t get it together, slowly but surely we will just keep producing generations of children more numb and more unsurprised by the latest breaking news.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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The Struggles Of Being A Millennial Republican

To us, conservative logic just makes sense.

We are the few, the proud, the Millennial Republicans. Our duty is to make sure the Grand Ol' Party stays alive and thriving, a task we proudly take on. We have forsaken all of the #FeelTheBern hashtags and declined to retweet the selfie of Kim Kardashian with Hillary Clinton. Our refusal to partake in the ideology of our peers does come at a cost by making us the unpopular kids at the political lunch table, a title we are actually okay with. Our "coolness" is a small price to pay to make sure America remains the best country in the world.

The Millennial Conservatives are a rare but amazing group of people who can bridge the gap between generations. Our basic principles still align with those of our parents' and grandparents' while bringing a fresh perspective to the table. To us, the conservative logic just makes sense. This is very clearly not the case for everyone, though. Every argument has been hurled our way for why it is crazy for our generation to vote red, but none have even come to close to convincing us to leave the right wing.

Unfortunately, there are still the daily struggles of being surrounded by democratic peers. These are a few situations which every twenty-something conservative can relate to:

When your liberal professor goes on a rant about the GOP.

Every time you see a Facebook rant about Bernie making everything “free.”

Actually, every time you see anything about #FeelingTheBern.

When you get on Tumblr to look at pictures of cute dogs and are bombarded by anti-Republican posts.

When Hillary Clinton did the "nae nae" so we were supposed to forget about Benghazi.

When people automatically assume you are voting for Donald Trump.

That friend who tells you all about how bad the Republican debates were but didn’t even watch them.

When a Democrat says they are the party that doesn’t judge anyone then calls all Republicans homophobic, sexist and racist.

When you find people your age who share your political stance.

You are a woman, so you must be a Democrat.

When someone tells you that Republicans are just “old, white men.”

When someone tries to convince you to switch parties.

Cover Image Credit: Jeremiah Schultz / Flickr

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Dear Nancy Pelosi, 16-Year-Olds Should Not Be Able To Vote

Because I'm sure every sixteen year old wants to be rushing to the voting booth on their birthday instead of the BMV, anyways.


Recent politicians such as Nancy Pelosi have put the voting age on the political agenda in the past few weeks. In doing so, some are advocating for the voting age in the United States to be lowered from eighteen to sixteen- Here's why it is ludicrous.

According to a study done by "Circle" regarding voter turnout in the 2018 midterms, 31% of eligible people between the ages of 18 and 29 voted. Thus, nowhere near half of the eligible voters between 18 and 29 actually voted. To anyone who thinks the voting age should be lowered to sixteen, in relevance to the data, it is pointless. If the combination of people who can vote from the legal voting age of eighteen to eleven years later is solely 31%, it is doubtful that many sixteen-year-olds would exercise their right to vote. To go through such a tedious process of amending the Constitution to change the voting age by two years when the evidence doesn't support that many sixteen-year-olds would make use of the new change (assuming it would pass) to vote is idiotic.

The argument can be made that if someone can operate heavy machinery (I.e. drive a car) at sixteen, they should be able to vote. Just because a sixteen-year-old can (in most places) now drive a car and work at a job, does not mean that they should be able to vote. At the age of sixteen, many students have not had fundamental classes such as government or economics to fully understand the political world. Sadly, going into these classes there are students that had mere knowledge of simple political knowledge such as the number of branches of government. Well, there are people above the age of eighteen who are uneducated but they can still vote, so what does it matter if sixteen-year-olds don't know everything about politics and still vote? At least they're voting. Although this is true, it's highly doubtful that someone who is past the age of eighteen, is uninformed about politics, and has to work on election day will care that much to make it to the booths. In contrast, sixteen-year-olds may be excited since it's the first time they can vote, and likely don't have too much of a tight schedule on election day, so they still may vote. The United States does not need people to vote if their votes are going to be uneducated.

But there are some sixteen-year-olds who are educated on issues and want to vote, so that's unfair to them. Well, there are other ways to participate in government besides voting. If a sixteen-year-old feels passionate about something on the political agenda but can't vote, there are other ways of getting involved. They can canvas for politicians whom they agree with, or become active in the notorious "Get Out The Vote" campaign to increase registered voter participation or help register those who already aren't. Best yet, they can politically socialize their peers with political information so that when the time comes for all of them to be eighteen and vote, more eighteen-year-olds will be educated and likely to vote.

If you're a sixteen-year-old and feel hopeless, you're not. As the 2016 election cycle approached, I was seventeen and felt useless because I had no vote. Although voting is arguably one of the easiest ways to participate in politics, it's not the only one. Since the majority of the current young adult population don't exercise their right to vote, helping inform them of how to stay informed and why voting is important, in my eyes is as essential as voting.

Sorry, Speaker Pelosi and all the others who think the voting age should be lowered. I'd rather not have to pay a plethora of taxes in my later years because in 2020 sixteen-year-olds act like sheep and blindly vote for people like Bernie Sanders who support the free college.

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