Never before have we soon that many mass shootings in such a short timespan in the United States. The number one cause of death for children and youth in the United States is gun violence.
“This is the second mass shooting I have lived through,” said a female student in an interview with CNN on Monday after a shooting at Michigan State University. Since Columbine in 1999, 300,000 students have been in school during a school shooting. 90% of teenagers killed are girls. Every single number is a human being who either died or experienced the consequences of America’s insane gun access. It’s gut-wrenching in a way that makes the reality I live in almost unbearable.
I can’t write this column accurately and fast enough before another mass shooting is reported.
Never before has the United States experienced so many shootings in such a short time. 71 mass shootings according to the Gun Violence Archive – in six weeks. The definition of a mass shooting is four or more dead or injured, not including the perpetrator. America is experiencing an epidemic, but politicians are not acting. Meanwhile, children and young people grow up with drills to increase their chances of survival if they experience a school shooting. 4.6 million American children live in a home with a loaded gun that is not in a secured, locked cabinet. It’s crazy, it’s sick, and it’s the primary reason I can’t fully embrace the country I call home.
After the Covid 19 pandemic, which kept many children and young people home for more than a year, the number of shootings increased. In 2021 alone, there were 250 shootings in and around schools, four of which fell under the category of mass shootings. Last year there were more than 300 shootings on school grounds. The worst school shooting occurred in Texas, where 22 were killed and 17 injured. Shots are fired at basketball games, in school cafeterias, in classrooms and in school parking lots. Each death often represents a child.
It’s absolutely insane! A shooting at a school should send the whole community into a frenzy, make people take to the streets by the millions, make everyone write their representatives to force the politicians to do something. Society should reach a stand still until something was done to make it safe to send the most vulnerable, our children and young students, to school.
I can’t write this column accurately and fast enough before another mass shooting is reported. Today is February 18th and there have already been 17 mass shootings – this month! On television, at municipal meetings, in public hearings, parents stand with a picture of their child and account one heartbreaking story after another – and describe who their beautiful child who is no longer in this world because of guns. The attitudes around gun laws have become so polarized that you are put in an extreme box on one or the other side of the political spectrum when you speak out.
I refuse to become numb, I refuse to shrug. I refuse to accept the how some Americans insist on their beloved second amendment. We are at a stage where we only hear about shootings in the news if they take place at a school, university, or is racially or religiously motivated. When something is sick and heartbreaking, it doesn’t become any less unfathomable due to its number. I choose to hold on to that, even if it tears my soul to pieces.
I don’t really care if the perpetrator was bullied as a kid, hates people of color, women, gays, or had a tough childhood. When you live in a country where there is virtually free access to guns that fire 30 rounds per second, you get a society like America. Denmark and Europe would look like the USA if they had the same attitude towards guns as we have here.
One thing is how traumatizing it is for children and young people and the rest of society to have to navigate a world where the risk of being in public must be constantly considered. It’s another thing to experience and survive a mass shooting. I think about how they experience the psychological toll, the inability to focus, having your childhood upended instantly, and losing faith that the adults will look after you. It is unbearable to think that someone puts the right to bear arms above the well-being of our children and their right to live a life of safety and security.
The United States is the only Western, democratic country that has mass shootings as an epidemic scale problem. Every day, 12 children in the United States die as a result of gun violence, 32 are shot or injured. There is no reason to believe that Americans are more violent, mentally ill, or stand out significantly from an ordinary Dane. But the easy access to guns, meant for warfare, makes the outpouring of hatred, anger and destruction is so much more deadly.
Jeg er fløjtende ligeglad med, om gerningsmanden er blevet mobbet som barn, hader sorte, kvinder, homoseksuelle eller har siddet skævt på potten
Aldrig før har der været så mange masseskyderier på så få uger i USA. Den største årsag til børns og unges død i USA er våben.