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Santa Margarita Catholic High School

Opinion: Reaction is not prevention

In 2019, there were more shootings than the 365 days in the year, according to CBS News.

In the wake of these occurrences, many people ranging from politicians to student activists have called for action to prevent shootings. However, it seems that a great portion of our society is caught up in only reacting to these events when they happen. 

The average American doesn’t actively think about what can be done to prevent shootings from occurring because it’s not a chronic problem, at least the media doesn’t seem to necessarily present it like one.

All we see on the news are several reports of the shooting in relatively quick succession, which then become buried under the constant stream of content due to 24/7 news. Something that was a national tragedy today simply becomes a bad memory, if remembered at all. 

These events are far removed from most viewers of media. Even though the victims are real people facing death or physical harm, most shootings aren’t geographically close to the view and thus don’t have enough of a personal connection in order to actually cause change.

Although most would agree that such deaths are wrong and should be stopped, this stance is short-lived in the face of more mundane, relevant and personal events. 

This behavior is very unsettling because the victims of shootings are all people, like you and me; people who have responsibilities, fears, and dreams. They deserve better than to be an afterthought. Our culture of primary reaction and inaction needs to change for the sake of all potential victims and their loved ones. 

Instead of only concerning ourselves with the prevention of shootings when they occur, the entire nation needs to actively talk about it.

Public service announcements, advertisements, and news articles can all be spread to increase the topic’s presence. People can push for local governments to pass legislation regarding gun control or mental health awareness. Discussion of the subject is crucial for it keeps the topic relevant and alive. However, it is only the first step in the right direction.

Talking is great but without any substantial action to follow up those words, no great changes will occur. 

Local and national governments need to follow through with any plans that they promise to enact. Aside from the government, individuals can prevent potential shootings by alerting the necessary authorities whenever there is a reasonable risk of a shooting threat in the future.

Countless deaths have been prevented through the prior warnings. Promoting awareness of mental health and treatment can also aid in stopping shootings before they happen. Most shooters come from a troubled past. Inclusivity and belonging can also treat many mental illnesses, such as anxiety or depression, which could prevent potential shooters from actually shooting people. 

There are things that can be done to solve the problem by an individual like you, which will lead our society in the right direction from reaction to action to prevent such senseless killings. It shouldn’t take another innocent life to change cause change.