June 16, 2014
Written by Michaela Lies
In a Las Vegas Walmart patrons are meandering the aisles, cashiers are ringing up items, and there is probably a baby crying. In walk a man and a woman.
It’s a sunny, spring day at Seattle Pacific University. Students are lounging in chairs sprinkled on the lawns. A man walks into a building on campus.
These scenes couldn’t be any more casual and seemingly boring, but the heart-wrenching truth is that as both continue, lives are ended. In the first, the man and woman opened fire on the patrons of Walmart after yelling, “This is the beginning of the revolution! Everybody get out! You will be shot!” on June 10, 2014. In the second scenario we saw the 26-year-old man start shooting as soon as he got into the campus building. On June 5, 2014, while he was reloading for another round, a heroic campus guard used pepper spray and subdued him. Joseph Wilcox tried to stop the shooters in Las Vegas, but was not so lucky and was killed in the event.
As I read these news stories it becomes glaringly clear that we live in a reactive society. I hear some people talking about how those who interacted with the shooters should have known they were dangerous and done something about it. The problem is, though, that we are neither taught how to identify these cues nor are we told what we should do preemptively about them to avoid bad situations.
To be honest, there is not a focus on teaching our children how to cope with stress by means of healthy outlets. Then those children grow up into teen-agers or adults who are legally allowed to purchase dangerous weapons. While the counterargument can be made that violence exists in every culture regardless if someone has a gun or not, that doesn’t help our cause of preventing further gun violence right here in our own backyards.
At a memorial service for the victims of the shootings in Santa Barbara, the father of one of the men killed said, “Enough is enough.” This service sparked the #NotOneMore Twitter campaign to promote awareness and to pressure politicians in power to take notice of the gun violence.
You know how news stories of people hitting the lottery or a dog doing something out of the ordinary are on the news so much that we just tune them out? That’s starting to happen when the stories of shootings come on the nightly news. We are so accustomed to it that we become numb and accept it… until it happens to us. What then? The human beings on the news who we see hugging each other in the aftermath of a shooting don’t have to ask what it would be like. They know. And the fact of the matter is that if we as a society don’t start proactively fixing the issue of shootings that occur (ONCE A WEEK), then you might not have to ask the ‘what if/what then’ questions either.
A sickening 57 mass murders have occurred in the U.S. since December 2013. Recently, one has happened every week.
“Not one more” is demanding that political figures do something about it. This can’t continue. Not one more murder spree should happen. Our government needs to step up in a big way to ensure the safety of this country’s people.
Below are links to more information regarding the Las Vegas and SPU shootings as well as the “Not one more” campaign:
Michaela is a junior at Washington & Jefferson College double majoring in Spanish and International Business. She loves to learn about people and believes that everyone has a story to tell. The past semester she studied abroad in Ecuador where she was able to learn an immense amount about the culture and history of the country through the stories of those she met as well as her own experiences.