Has America become desensitised to mass shootings?

By Danielle Cuaycong

In the space of a month, two of the deadliest mass shootings have occurred in the US. The Texas Church massacre led to the loss of 26 innocent civilians and the Vegas shooting left 58 people dead and 546 injured. Newspapers may be swift to jump on the ‘mental health’ bandwagon as the ultimate cause to blame and, although this may be true, the prevalence of these gun massacres highlights an underlying issue within the US.

The fundamental issue here is that, while the loss of human life is undeniably heartbreaking, the emotional impact of these horrific events decreases the more frequently they occur. Firstly, the massacres have undoubtedly compelled an outcry from many, some of whom are distressed at the thought that a place they call their ‘home’ could easily be turned upside down within a split second by a stranger with a gun. Undeniably, anxiety and fear have filled many.

However, on the flip side, Americans have become increasingly less startled at the violence, deeming it as a daily occurrence despite still being empathetic to these situations. Furthermore, the issue with the violence of mass shootings being displayed on television is that it has led to evidence suggesting that children who watched these violent images exhibited increased levels of aggression during adolescence. Thus, in the future, this could pose a problem in terms of mental health and violence.

However, claiming that the US is ‘de-sensitised’ almost has connotations of American citizens being heartless and although this couldn’t be farther from the truth, it is an indisputable truth that these heinous spates of violence are no longer a strange event but rather a frequent occurrence. The question isn’t if it will happen again but rather when.

Photograph: Al_HikesAZ   

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