OPINION: We need to keep talking about gun violence


Photo credit/ Jennifer Flynn

As exhausting and emotional as it is, we need to keep discussing gun violence.

According to BBC News, there have been at least 160 mass shootings in the US in 2023 so far, which averages at least one mass shooting per day.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like no one is talking enough about this. A shooting might appear in the news cycle, but it seems like as quickly as it happens, conversations about the event come and go. It can feel like, at times, that we are desensitized to these horrific events.

Perhaps this desensitization is a defensive mechanism. If mass shootings are happening at least once a day, we cannot possibly experience all of the emotions that are associated with a tragedy on a daily basis; it would be exhausting. Maybe in an effort to conserve mental and emotional bandwidth, we don’t talk about or even think about every shooting that takes place in the US, but this boundary is doing more harm than good.

Mental or emotional bandwidth refers to the amount of mental and emotional space that a person has available to process information. Processing information that is particularly emotional or complicated can take a toll on one’s mental health.

I want to clarify that boundaries can be incredibly healthy. Everyone reserves the right to set boundaries to protect their mental and emotional health, especially those who have experienced trauma previously relating to gun violence.

However, there is a difference between setting healthy boundaries and complacency.

Setting boundaries is sometimes necessary for one’s own health and wellness, but choosing to ignore something because it’s difficult, complex, or simply doesn’t affect you personally is complacency.

We should not shy away from conversations just because they are difficult to have. Talking about mass shootings is incredibly difficult, but we cannot continue to sweep the issue of gun violence under the rug.

If you are mentally and emotionally able to do so, use your voice to advocate for legal and social reform.

There are organizations out there doing the hard work of educating individuals on the reality of gun violence in the US and advocating for governmental common-sense gun reform.

A few of these organizations include Amnesty International, an organization that campaigns for the protection of human rights, and March For Our Lives, an activism group created by survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

These organizations are making it easy to get involved and stay informed when it comes to the issue of gun violence.

Amnesty International provides shocking and eye-opening statistics about the realities of gun violence and mass shootings. The site also provides videos and graphics that make information easy to absorb and understand. The site is also translated into English, Spanish, French, and Arabic, making it accessible to not only US citizens but people all over the world.

March For Our Lives provides ways for people, especially students, to get involved and take action. Their site makes it incredibly easy to send messages to your representatives, donate to the cause, or volunteer for an event or campaign.

We have the power to make a difference. By continuing conversations about the need and longing for change, we can pressure lawmakers into action. Conversations like those surrounding gun violence are complex, challenging, and emotional, but if they can bring about real, lasting change, isn’t it worth it?

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