California Has Suffered Three Mass Shootings In Three Days, Two In Bay Area
It doesn’t feel like a single day can go by in this country without a tragic incident involving gun violence.
Initially, when I heard about the mass shooting in Monterey Park, California, a small city in Southern California, not far from Los Angeles, I wasn’t going to write an article about it. I knew the shooting would receive an avalanche of coverage and numerous think pieces from commentators on every end of the political spectrum. I didn’t feel like I would say anything that hasn’t already been said.
But then, a day later, when Half Moon Bay, a small coastal city not far from San Francisco suffered a mass shooting, I felt compelled to write something about it. The worst part was I didn’t know what to write exactly. I wasn’t shocked. The reason why I wasn’t shocked wasn’t because I’m some callous asshole who feels nothing when others suffer, it’s because mass murder is routine in America.
As I’m writing this, a third mass shooting in 3 days occurred just 5 miles from where I’m sitting.
This isn’t going to be an article about gun control nor is this going to be about some weird right wing hero obsession where I make the argument that a “good guy” with a gun would have saved the day.
This article isn’t going to be about the politics of gun violence, but a collective apathy that hides behind empty tweets vowing to keep dead strangers in your thoughts and prayers.
I remember when I was a kid and I heard about the mass shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. It was the first time I had heard the term “mass shooting” and I didn’t really understand what it meant. But I distinctly remember the American media machine, especially the conservative right, placing the blame on music and other forms of “deviant” media. Say what you want about Marilyn Manson or the sexual assault allegations attached to his name, but he didn’t cause those kids to shoot up the their school.
While it can be argued that our gun laws make these kinds of events more likely, it’s not the only thing that contributes to mass violence.
Our normalization of gun violence is the main contributor to gun violence. Acceptance breeds continuity. This isn’t only applicable to gun violence, it’s applicable to everything.
As I’m writing this, a third mass shooting in 3 days occurred just 5 miles from where I’m sitting. A total of 8 people were shot in a shootout at a Valero gas station not far from Mills College in Oakland. One person has died so far, and while every specific incident is different, in a general sense, I expect things like this to happen, not just in Oakland, but in America as a whole.
The government isn’t going to fix this. Activist groups, despite their best efforts, have largely failed. A good guy with a gun isn’t going to do shit. And as we learned in Uvalde, the cops are just as scared as you are.
So what do we do? We have to feel something again. That’s the start of a solution. Gun violence isn’t supposed to elicit numbness. You’re supposed to have a visceral response to heinous acts of cruelty. I saw a video of a man rubbing shit in another man’s face recently. I felt sick to my stomach as I watched it. I felt a surge or anger at the perpetrator. I also felt sympathy for the victim. It’s because I’m not used to a constant barrage of daily shit attack news. I’m going to be honest, when I hear about gun violence, I find myself involuntarily thinking “it can’t be avoided.”
But it can.
We just have to care. I’m not saying ban all guns, that ship has fucking sailed. There’s more guns in this country than people.
There’s a lot of ways to show care. Maybe mandatory mental health screenings for every adult gun owner or not? People who are high risk wouldn’t necessarily be stigmatized, but provide counseling and other mental health support. Maybe show people the horrors of gun violence in an uncinematic way. Have kids in school talk to survivors of gun violence and what that does to them psychologically.
I’m sure someone thinks I’m wrong, and I may be. I don’t have all the answers, but gun violence isn’t an earthquake or tornado. It’s not a natural disaster. It can be stopped. It can be reduced. Because gun violence is us. All of us. It’s not just the shooter or the NRA backed gun lobbies writing legislation for spineless politicians to put into law.
It’s a societal shrug in the face of repeated murders, and our collective inability to strive for change.