Our #ThoughtsAndPrayers need to be more effective

By Savannah Cooper | Staff Writer

Despite being in the United States for a brief, 19-year period, I have lived through most of the deadliest mass shootings in modern American history, going all the way back to Columbine High School (1999) and Virginia Tech (2007) to Pulse nightclub (2016) and the most recent Las Vegas shooting (2017). When such news gets to me, like many others, I’m heartbroken and become even more concerned with the state our country is in. Soon after the news is spread across the country and the world, our timelines and vernacular switch to the now infamous phrase “Our thoughts and prayers are with (fill in the blank city).”

With the high frequency of these killings, it seems as if we almost are becoming numb to the horror. There’s now a routine we’ve established as a nation to “fix” and “mourn.”

The news spreads, hashtags form and newscasts focus everything their network has toward said tragedy. Next, the president delivers a speech with a somber tone highlighting how awful said tragedy is followed by a moment of silence –– all of which, of course, is televised.

Then newsstands’ front pages will highlight certain, compelling stories that make the death toll number a face with a more humanitarian side to it. While information about the faces on the screen are given, the information about the shooter who more than likely killed themselves shortly after the crimes were committed, comes out as well. There’s a trend with the shooters as well –– they tend to be males who wouldn’t hurt a flower with allies who speak oh so well on their behalf, while other reports highlight their mental illness and purchase history hinting toward a destructive act.

From there, days, weeks and months pass and the degree of importance faces unfortunately fades with it. For me at least, waking up to the Las Vegas news, I was shocked and disappointed in the senseless nature of the killings. The saddest and most disheartening part about these events are, despite being historic, there’s always a lack of congressional effort to solve this huge issue our country is having alone.

After the Sandy Hook elementary shooting of 27 kindergarteners and teachers where only a proposal was put in place, I then realized how much of a problem we have. Very few things can be slightly more innocent than kindergarteners who came to school like any other day, but didn’t get the chance to go home or live a full life.

The term “gun control” is polarizing and can be daunting to proud gun owners because it threatens their second amendment right. I didn’t grow up around guns nor do I personally know a proud gun owner, but after several death totals like 58 in Las Vegas, 49 in Orlando and 32 at Virginia Tech –– control isn’t the worst idea. Rather than stripping guns away, our nation’s leaders who have the power to make effective change need to place stricter laws on the purchase and accessibility to guns.

A very small percentage of us are in a place of power to making national law enacted, but we all come from communities that can make one step toward a safer country for us all. Together, input can make a world wind of change that will benefit generations to come.