When, in December 2012, a shooter fatally killed 20 elementary school children in a town just two hours away from our own campus, President Christina Paxson P’19 decided to sponsor a series of forums on school shootings. She urged the Janus Forum to sponsor a talk on gun violence and signed a letter with the Association of American Universities that urged President Obama to act on gun control.
Five years later, our country is seeing some of the bloodiest acts of terror in its history. On Oct. 1, a gunman released fire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas, killing 58 and injuring more than 500 in the deadliest mass shooting by an individual that the United States has ever seen. And Sunday, a shooting at a church outside of San Antonio, Texas left 25 people dead and more injured.
The Columbine shooting that rocked the country in 1999 is no longer one of the ten deadliest shootings the United States has seen. Three of the worst five have occurred in the past year. But the dialogue surrounding campus has not reflected the continual impact of these horrific events.
Administrators are not talking to us about it. Students aren’t talking about what’s happening — or, at least, not publicly. Is it because these tragedies occur so frequently that we’ve become numb to them? Because they don’t feel close enough for us to feel their impacts? Or because these isolated incidents don’t give us a general impression of larger systemic issues in how our country deals with gun control?
We are bothered by this radio silence — and we know other students are, too.
With all the challenges today’s political climate presents, we urge the University and its students not to allow these events to escape our periphery.
There are many steps that we can take to combat the isolation that students feel when they internalize their reactions. We ask the University and the groups it sponsors to host forums where students can have a chance to speak to both on the personal impact of gun violence and its greater implications for the country. We hope the University will create spaces to further activism for students who want to work to affect gun policies on regional or local scales. And, at The Herald, we will continue to offer the forum that exists in these pages for you to project your voice on these issues.
After the attack on Tuesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a speech, “We’ll respond as we always do. We will be undeterred.” As students, we should be undeterred — but we should be bothered. In the face of the mass shooting in Texas Sunday, let us not respond in the same way we have in this past month — let us carve out spaces to talk about what’s bothering us. Tragedy cannot be ignored.
Editorials are written by The Herald’s 127th Editorial Board: Lauren Aratani ’18, Matthew Brownsword ’18, Rebecca Ellis ’18 and Kate Talerico ’18. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.