Natalie Martini, ’21, Managing Editor

Source: Aljazeera

On average, at least one mass shooting occurs every day, according to the New York Times. This might sound startling, but considering the recent events to take place last week from March 16th, to March 22nd, it suddenly and unfortunately does not sound so hard to believe. Mass shootings occur more than we know in the United States, and last week was only the tip of the iceberg.

A mass shooting, as CNN defines it, is where 4 or more people are injured or killed by a shooting incident. As reported by CNN, there were seven mass shootings within seven days to occur in the United States. It began on March 16th, where 8 people, including 6 Asian women, were killed by a gunman who shot up not one, but three spas in Atlanta, Georgia. The havoc continued on March 17th, where five people were the victims of a drive-by shooting, but fortunately no one was killed. On Thursday the 18th, 4 people were hospitalized from a shooter in Gresham, Oregon. Three more shootings took place on Saturday the 20th, one of which no one was killed, and the other two each resulting in one person killed. Finally, on Monday the 22nd, a shooting took place at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, where 10 people were killed, including a police officer.

This devastating news hit even harder when I realized how many shootings like this occur without the media ever covering it. According to BBC News, this may be due to timing, but is also the result of the number of victims to either be killed or wounded during the incident. Still, when we hear statistics about thousands of people dying each year due to gun violence, it makes us wonder why we never hear about it when it happens.

Some speculate that it is due to the fear of people getting ideas from the news, and that reporting it will result in even more shootings. So, the only ones that are reported are the more severe cases. However, even some of the less devastating cases reported from the seven shootings in March 2021 seem like significant headlines. Not every case in the U.S. is even made aware to the police, let alone the media. It is sad to consider that if every incident like that were to be reported, the news would be flooded with stories on shootings every week.

The recent shootings also sparked perpetuating debate on gun control, as Biden’s response called for legislation to ban assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines, according to the New York Times. Many Republicans have fought the idea to ban any kind of gun as they argue it is unconstitutional. There is an obvious divide among Americans on this issue, as the other side argues that guns are the root of the issue and need to be taken away in order to control gun violence.

There are also criticisms about the background check system, referring to the process of actually buying a gun. Many Americans question how mentally unstable individuals are able to slip through the cracks amongst responsible gun owners, and purchase a weapon so easily. They feel there need to be stricter guidelines set in place so that these individuals are not given a weapon in the first place.

While people argue about the root of the issue for gun control, the reality is that many shooters are motivated by different experiences, and we do not always know what pushed them to execute such a heinous crime. This is why there is more energy put into addressing a system that we can control, in eliminating their ability to buy the gun in the first place, whether that means stricter rules set in place or a ban of assault rifles altogether.

While there is also a necessary focus on addressing the gun owner’s psychological state, an individual’s mental motivations are something we have less control over in the situation, which is likely why mental health is less addressed than gun control. However, mental illness plays a large role in gun violence and should be a major aspect of addressing an active shooter incident.

Above all discussions on gun violence, there should be an overall focus on the families who lost loved ones within the incidents that occurred from March 16th to March 22nd. To have such a painful experience inflicted on an individual or their loved one in the blink of an eye, at as innocent a place as a grocery store or spa, is unimaginably dreadful and horrifying. It is important to remember the victims in the situation, the 20 casualties, as well as those who fortunately survived. We can also hope for some change in the U.S. to decrease the chances of something like this happening again in the future.