On Oct. 1, the mass shooting in Las Vegas left the country once again in shock. 20,000 people entered a concert venue that evening hoping to enjoy a night listening to country music. 58 people never left. Over 500 concert-goers suffered serious injuries. Thousands of other attendees as well as first responders and the families of those affected will remain emotionally traumatized by what took place.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. There have been nine mass shootings in 2017, and four of the five worst mass shootings in history happened in the past ten years alone. In 2016, 49 people lost their lives in a mass shooting at Orlandos Pulse Nightclub. Four years prior, 20 children and six educators lost their lives when a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School, violating innocence in its most sincere form.
This staggering loss of life is sickening. Whats even more disturbing is how accustomed the world has become to these terrorist attacks. Its always the same story: a mass shooting occurs, the news capitalizes on the story for a week and then its dropped. Discussions arent continued, and people move on with their lives. We have become desensitized to these issues.
In most cases, investigators often find that the perpetrator demonstrated signs of danger to the community and had access to guns. Any decent human being will say these murders are wrong and unnecessary; but they are also completely preventable.
As Millennials, its easy to feel helpless responding to these issues. Where do we even begin to be able to make an impact on creating, and maintaining, a dialogue on stricter gun control?
On Wednesday, Student Senate, Bradley University Police Department (BUPD) and Student Support Services hosted a screening of Newtown, a documentary following the family and friends of victims of Sandy Hook as they dealt with their grief and put forth efforts to create legislation on stricter gun laws. Following the film, BUPD provided tips for being safe in the event of an active shooter and offered to answer any questions regarding this matter.
This is a great start to creating a healthy dialogue on the matter, but we arent done yet. As citizens of this country, we owe it to the victims of mass shootings to honor their legacies and carry on these dialogues so they will not have died in vain. The conversation must be carried on to local legislators.
Bradley students have seen success by reaching out to local legislators before. Over the course of two years, Bradley students made multiple trips to Springfield to hold rallies regarding passing the Illinois budget to receive MAP grant funding.
When the budget passed in July, funding for the MAP grant was reinstated. The voices of students who participated in the rallies were heard.
As young citizens of the nation, we can use our voices to pave the way for a broader dialogue in America. The best thing we can do is to keep talking. Keep reaching out to legislators. Keep the conversation alive.
We have to hold ourselves accountable to prevent gun violence in the future. We cant wait until this violence touches us personally, we need to be proactive. Because, in this day and age, even enjoying a night out at a country concert with family and friends isnt safe.