#PrayForNewtown was tweeted over 1.8 million times just a few days after the tragedy in Newtown happened on Dec. 14, 2012. I am certain that that number has greatly surpassed two million by now.
#NavyYardShooting was tweeted 250,700 times since the tragedy happened on Sept. 16, 2013. And that number is nowhere even near the one million mark.
Since Newtown, the news has reported 8,371 deaths by gun violence. But according to The Slate Group, a division of the Washington Post Company, there have been nearly 24,980 deaths by gun violence since Dec. 14, 2012 that the news has purposely omitted.
After the violence that ensued in Aurora, Newtown, Boston and Oak Creek, Wis., mass feelings of anger, devastation and helplessness rampaged social media. Every post and tweet was about what happened. Although the hashtag “PrayForNewtown” could provide nothing for the grieving, it was a tacit collaboration of our generation to show that we were there and that we cared.
But on the day of the Navy Yard Shooting, my own personal Twitter feed was sparse with supportive tweets, and my Facebook homepage, in comparison to my newsfeed on the days of the earlier tragedies, greatly lacked any acknowledgement of what had happened.
And again, on Sept. 19, a mass shooting took place on a basketball court in Chicago. Thirteen people were injured, and three were in critical condition, including a 3-year-old boy.
Both Twitter and Facebook, for me, fell silent.
I am ashamed that I only learned about the Chicago shooting an entire day after it had happened, and I am worried that our nation does not appear to be as alarmed or distraught by the violence.
Have Americans become so accustomed to mass shootings in our country that they are just considered routine? Does the fact that an innocent 3-year-old was severely injured from gun violence not seem as disheartening as it did nine months ago? And as Cenk Uygur, a Turkish-American political commentator, tweeted, “One day someone’s going to shoot 12 people & people aren’t even going to notice because it’s so common. Is today that day?”
I hope not. And the majority of the American people hope not as well.
It is clear that something needs to change and that stricter gun control is the change we need so that that day never comes.
But unfortunately, our voices alone aren’t enough, and we need the collaborative effort of both political parties to finally see change. Back in June of this year, only six months after the Newtown tragedy took place, Washington failed to pass the act mandating background checks before purchasing semiautomatic weapons.
President Barack Obama declared that day as “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
How narcissistic can our politicians be that they are willing to risk the lives of innocent Americans for the possibility of the 2014 reelection? How many more children have to die before our politicians will be jolted from their haze of apathy to make the difference that America needs? And why haven’t the deaths of already 20 children been enough?
Sadly, our government’s inability to pass the act for stricter gun control has made us numb in the face of tragedy. Our government’s intransigence has made these horrific acts of violence so mainstream in today’s society.
I hope we don’t have to endure another mass shooting to advocate for change. Let’s restart the movement toward stricter gun control now, before any more blood is shed.