The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida has sparked a nationwide debate about the Second Amendment and the laws surrounding guns in America.
This tragic event perfectly captures the issue within today’s culture because we as a country have become desensitized to violence.
Just last October, a gunman armed with multiple AR-15s killed 58 people in Las Vegas. Another gunman killed 26 church goers in Texas.
Many of these killings have not gotten the coverage they deserve in part because of the news fatigue since mass shootings have become a normal occurance seen in headlines.
I would say the majority of our country are tired of seeing these headlines and do not feel the same sympathy as they would have 20 years ago when witnessing the killings at Columbine High School, which at the time was the worst school shooting in American history.
For context, a mass shooting is a gun attack where four or more people are injured. In the past 1,870 days, or a little more than five years, there have been 1,624 mass shootings in America – an alarmingly high number.
When we compare these numbers to other first world countries such as Australia and Japan, we are leading in the amount of shootings and killings by a massive margin.
With these numbers being so large and in conjunction with our short news cycle, it would make sense that most of these shootings are not covered by large news stations to the extent that they would have been in the past. This has caused us as a country to become desensitized to violence.
Although it may not be any one person’s fault as to why we as a nation have become desensitized to violence, it is something that has occured.
There is no longer that same shock factor when we see a few people killed in a shooting. I’m sure most people couldn’t name the 17 mass shootings that occured on school campus’ in 2018 alone. (CNBC)
Another driving factor to the desensitization to violence can be seen in part to the violence that is displayed in many Hollywood films and video games.
In no way am I blaming any form of media as an excuse to the increase of mass shootings. But it has to be seen as a reason for desensitization of violence.
The same can be said about social media as it is not shocking to be scrolling through Instagram or Twitter and see a video depicting some sort of violence. In fact, many popular media pages have thrived off of these video’s containing violence.
If we look at some of the most successful video games of the 21st century, we see titles such as “Grand Theft Auto” and “Call of Duty” both capitalize off of violence within the game. The same can be seen in many Hollywood films as almost every movie that comes out has some high level of violence.
This trend continues with the large amount of terrorist attacks on American soil. Many of the attacks that have been foiled by the FBI, including the planned attack at Pier 39 in San Francisco last Christmas, did not receive more than a couple days of coverage.
All of these reasons have led us as a country, society, and culture to become shockingly desensitized to violence. Although it may not be anyone’s fault, it is time we address this very serious issue.