Kaitlin Thorne

Seven mass shootings occurred in United States in the past week. Two of which have captured the attention of the nation. The first happened on March 16 in Atlanta, GA, when a man shot and killed eight people at spas in the area. Seven of his victims were women, six of whom were Asian. The second shooting happened on March 22, when a man shot and killed 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder, CO.

Two cities are coming to grips with acts of extreme violence and in total 18 people lost their lives – 18 families are now grieving for a loved one they were forced to say goodbye to, too soon.

While collectively, the nation mourns, public commentary has been divided.

The discourse that follows mass shootings is not only repetitive, but it is often disrespectful and even borders on meritless.

Comment sections of news reports often become a battleground where people on either side of the issue feel they need to fight about the second amendment. Facts of the story become lost, leaving those who hold tightly to their guns arguing that the gun didn’t kill the people, the person did; and those who argue that mass shootings are why guns must be banned. Forgotten are the ones who died. Only the focus on a self-righteous screaming match remains. Many feel lost in between; those who are sorrowful over the deaths, but see points on either side they agree with.

Gun-control discourse is a crucial and must be discussed in the U.S. The issue has been simmering for decades and a reckoning must come – the problem is that it never does. Instead, the conversation is brought into the light every time a mass shooting occurs. We, as a country, act shocked, argue, and move on. The conversation is then by-in-large ignored until the cyclical issue tragically repeats.

We must discuss gun-control, violent crimes, mental illness and racism. The problem is, immediately after death is not the time. Space must be given to mourn the dead. It is the respectful thing to do. The people who died have loved ones who are grieving, give them the time they deserve.

To go on the comment section of a news article reporting on someone who was murdered and argue about gun-control is cold and emotionless. The article is about the victim, not about what killed them.

If a person died from health complications it would be improper to discuss how to live a healthy life in the comments under an obituary. The same thought and care should be extended to those whose lives were cut short due to a mass shooting.

After a mass shooting, pain can be raw and searing. It can provoke fear and a defensive nature in many. Hold onto those feelings, remember them, give thoughts to what you believe need to be done, and then wait. Wait until the proper outlet is available to you. Call your local representatives, state senators and all of those who represent you as a voter. Make your voice be heard, but please do so in a proper time and place and allow the nation to mourn 18 more victims of mass shootings.

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