Politics

Why I Know Nothing About Virginia Beach

Two weeks ago a man with a gun killed twelve people in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Before killing these people he’d turned in notice to his job. I’d love to tell you more about this story, but that’s all I know about it.

But, sadly, the story is already fading away and we’ve all moved on to other things

As somebody who reads about half a dozen different news apps everyday, you may be asking yourself how I don’t know more about it. And you’d be right to do so. I’ve been asking myself that for the last two weeks, honestly.

Well, the first week I was asking myself why I didn’t know more. The second week I’ve been berating myself pretty much nonstop about it. Because I should know more. We all should know more. But, sadly, the story is already fading away and we’ve all moved on to other things while those people who were killed have been laid to rest and their families are still finding their own ways of moving on in this world without their loved ones. It’s the same cycle we see every time.

I kept seeing the headlines pop up, of course. It was on every single news station and app you could find. But every time I saw a headline about it I just stopped watching or scrolled on to the next article. Every time I told myself that little lie we all tell ourselves… I’ll get to that later.

But, of course, we don’t. And, of course, I didn’t. I’d see the articles just staring at me. I’d see the notifications come across my phone and I’d swipe them away and say that I was going to read about it when I got home. Or after dinner. Or after just one more YouTube video. Later, just not right now.

The last few days I’ve been pondering why I skipped them. What was it that made me ignore the story? It makes me feel like a heartless bastard and I don’t like that feeling. It makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with me. But, after spending the last few days thinking about it, I have three possible explanations as to why I never read a single article about the Virginia Beach massacre.

Sadness

If you’re anything like myself, you always get a bit of a knot in your stomach every time you start seeing those notifications come through your phone that there’s been another one. Another crazy man with a gun has gone on another rampage and murdered a bunch of people for absolutely no reason.

Mixed in with the sadness, though, is fear. Fear for the victims. Fear for your own loved ones. Fear for anybody who might still be stuck in that situation dealing with a crazy man with a gun. Fear that you yourself might have to go through something like that some day.

Then the numbers start rolling in. Five dead. Eight dead.

Twelve dead in yet another mass shooting in the United States…

This sadness and fear is what kept me away at first. What always keeps me away at first. I can usually push through it at some point, but I just couldn’t this time. I don’t know why this time was different but I saw the headlines in my notifications and I got that knot in my stomach and I just swiped the story away.

I’m just so emotionally drained from reading about people being murdered…

Anger

It isn’t long after the sadness that the anger begins. And it’s not, by any means, a focused anger. It’s more of an anger at the entire world.

A person’s right to live is more important than your right to own any gun you want. If you disagree with that statement then you’re a total piece of shit.

I’m pissed off at the crazy fucker who would do something like this. I’m pissed at whoever it was that gave that man a gun. I’m pissed at the politicians who keep letting these things happen. I’m pissed off at the news stations who keep on making these guys into heroes for other crazy bastards out there.

Most of all, though, I’m already pissed at all those callous assholes that are about to start popping up in comments sections and chat rooms saying stupid shit like “Only thing to stop a bad guy with a gun…” and “Guns don’t kill people…” and “Cars kill more people every year…”

You know, the exact same bullshit they’ve been saying for years. We all know them by heart and most of us are smart enough to realize that those arguments are utter nonsense. Now, don’t get me wrong, here. I’m for the 2nd Amendment. At the same time, though, I’m strongly against moronic arguments that either ignore the real issue or just aren’t based in reality. Above all, I’m against these gun toting assholes who think their right to own 800 guns is more important than a single one of the lives that were lost two weeks ago. Because it’s just not.

A person’s right to live is more important than your right to own any gun you want. If you disagree with that statement then you’re a total piece of shit.

But I wonder if it’s my hatred for those people that made me stay away from articles about the shooting. Knowing that I’d end up reading something by some idiot that was already defending their guns before the blood even had a chance to dry. I just can’t deal with those sort of mouth-breathing, left lane driving, Tapout shirt wearing nitwits anymore without completely losing my shit.

Apathy

How many times does it take a person to experience something before they become immune to it? I’m sure there are degrees to it the same as everything in life. For example: How many times can you drive by a beautiful mural painted on a wall before you stop looking at it? How many times can you hear the president lie before you stopped being shocked by it? How many times can you drive by an abandoned building before it fades into the background? How many times can you see your friend go back to an abusive relationship before you stop caring?

How many times can you see a story about a crazy person with a gun killing a bunch of people before you stop reading the articles?

Apathy is the one that scares me the most, and I think it should be the one that scares you as well. Two weeks ago a man just walked up and murdered twelve people in this country and it’s already becoming old news. Before writing this article I checked every single news app I have and not a single one of them had a story about the shooting on their front page. I mean, what kind of fucked up country do we live in where something like that happens and in less than two weeks we just stop giving a shit?

How many times can you see a story about a person with a gun killing a bunch of people before you stop reading the articles?

The worst part of it all, though, is that it’s just not shocking enough anymore…

“Yeah, he killed twelve people. At least it wasn’t forty-eight.”

“Yeah, he killed twelve people. But at least it wasn’t children this time.”

“Yeah, he killed twelve people. Not like we’re gonna do anything about it.”

Because this type of shit happens every day. We’ve strolled past it too many times, and we don’t even bother to pay attention anymore. Unless a shooting beats some kind of record for death we give it the least bit of recognition and then move on to see what crazy shenanigans Trump did today and watch our favorite shows and just forget all about it.

Conclusion

Despite what many people seem to think these days, most issues have more than one answer. This, for sure, is one of those things. Because I don’t think it’s only sadness, or only anger, or only apathy that kept me (and I’m sure many others) from reading about the Virginia Beach shooting. I’m pretty sure it’s a combination of the three. Which makes it so much harder to deal with. One emotion or another I can find ways around. But the more that all three grow inside of me, the harder it is for me to deal with it all.

As sad as it is to think about, I’m starting to realize that I don’t need to read the articles. I know this story already. I’ve heard it so many times…

The sadness and the anger are both still there, but they’re already growing weak. By far the most dangerous emotion of them all, though, is apathy. We can’t let ourselves become immune to these events. We can’t let ourselves give up the fight for better mental healthcare and common sense gun laws. We need to push to make it illegal for news organizations to share the identities of mass shooters.

If you don’t know anything else, just remember these faces. They are the victims. They’re dead now because we would rather fight among ourselves than save lives.

As sad as it is to think about, I’m starting to realize that I don’t need to read the articles. I know this story already. I’ve heard it so many times…

We just need to do something. Because doing nothing obviously isn’t working.

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